Patient Stories

Patient Stories

Joyful, Creative and Determined

When the Whitworth family moved to Panama City Beach, son Will was three years old, and in most respects a typical, active youngster with a love of the outdoors and a far-reaching interest in animals. However, while he was quite verbal, it was evident that he was experiencing significant difficulty with his speaking skills. Mom Amanda had to interpret for others what he was trying to say because, although she understood him, no one else could.

Jan 03, 2023
Patient Stories

Helping Autistic Children Navigate Life

Four year-old Ja’Terrion was completely non-verbal when he was diagnosed and became a patient at the Autism Center of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. However, this early-age intervention was to make a huge difference in his life.  As a result of the speech therapy he received, he went from not saying anything to actually using words. Today, two years later, Ja’Terrion is enrolled in kindergarten and continuing to make progress in his communication skills.

Nov 15, 2022
Patient Stories

Stephanie Kemp: Breast Cancer Survivor Finds Her Calling

Ascension Sacred Heart Breast Care Nurse Navigator Stephanie Kemp wears many hats as she guides patients through their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery: she’s an educator, cheerleader, social worker, counselor and advocate. And just like the patients she interacts with daily, she’s also a breast cancer survivor. 

Oct 13, 2022
Patient Stories

Katie Mitchell To Serve as Children’s Miracle Network® Champion

Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation is pleased to announce that Katie Mitchell has been chosen as our 2022 Children’s Miracle Network® (CMN) Champion, advocating for member hospital Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. CMN is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and community support for 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. Each year, CMN hospitals are invited to submit the story of a child who has been treated in their facility. This child will serve as a CMN ambassador and face of the hospital for partner campaigns and various events that generate donations. One hundred percent of the donations stays in our local area to support pediatric treatments and healthcare services, medical equipment and philanthropic care.

Apr 05, 2022
Patient Stories

Halene O’Connell

What is life after COVID-19 like? For a Milton teen, it’s a long journey from the coma she was in in the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. Now recovering at home, Halene O’Connell, 16, is fighting the after-effects of the virus.

Dec 29, 2020
Patient Stories

Tears, Prayers and Grace

Haylee and David Huffman have deep roots on the Emerald Coast. They met in Destin, Haylee’s home town, and were married in Santa Rosa Beach eleven years ago. There, deeply committed to serving God, they “planted” a church that David currently pastors. Their three children were born at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast: Asher (6), Hattie (3), and John Levi. This is John Levi’s ‘story from the heart.’

Oct 06, 2020
Patient Stories

Elliot Rowell: We see most clearly through the heart

Running through the Mother Seton Garden playground at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, you’d never know 6-year-old Elliot Rowell was once a patient here.

Aug 04, 2020
Patient Stories

Dayaram Family

“All in God’s timing”: a surprise pregnancy leads to the surprise of their lives

Jul 21, 2020
Patient Stories

Ashton Welborn: childhood cancer patient to pediatric nurse

Ashton Welborn’s mother knew something was wrong with her second-grader. When the always-hungry little girl stopped eating and became pale and weak, she took her to the pediatrician. Blood work determined it was mono, but her doctor wanted a second look at the labs.

Apr 07, 2020
Patient Stories

Logan Allen: Our Smallest Miracle

At six months pregnant, Talisa Jackson was faced with every expectant mother’s worst nightmare.

Feb 24, 2020
Patient Stories

Miles Wright

Miles Wright: “My cancer helped me appreciate the small things.”

Feb 04, 2020
Patient Stories

A Battle Bravely Fought

Today Katie Mitchell is in a good place. Eight years old, she is in the third grade and if you didn’t know what she has been through, you would never guess.

Dec 10, 2019
Patient Stories

Carter Harrison

So Much More Than A Syndrome

Oct 08, 2019
Patient Stories

Sophia’s Story

How a new NICU will make a big difference for our smallest patients

Jul 24, 2019
Patient Stories

Jabyn Livingston – Letting Hope Arise

One special boy’s legacy creates a haven for kids with special needs

Jun 04, 2019
Patient Stories

Abigail Fisher

Our 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Hero

Apr 16, 2019
Patient Stories

Blake’s Story

Visiting with us during a chemotherapy infusion, you would never know the battles 18-year-old Blake McComas and his family have endured. Three years after losing his older brother to cancer, Blake was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when he was just 11. Today, he’s still fighting, but it’s his laughter – not his tears – that fills the halls of the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Dec 18, 2018
Patient Stories

Harris Family

Father recounts day Sacred Heart Hospital 

Dec 04, 2018
Patient Stories

LiAna Patterson

LiAna’s Story

Nov 26, 2018
Patient Stories

Sprout & Katie Have an MRI

What do you do when your child is so terrified by the thought of the hospital that she won’t get out of the car? You enlist the help of Sprout the Service Dog at Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Sep 28, 2018
Patient Stories

Ripley Vignes

Chloe and Beau Vignes thought their pregnancy was fairly normal, until Chloe’s 30-week prenatal check-up, when they found out their son – Baby Ripley – was not on track for growth. Two weeks later, at the 32-week appointment, Chloe’s doctor performed an ultrasound and announced Chloe needed to be admitted right away. Baby Ripley was not stable, his heartbeat was not strong, and the doctor was concerned about his lung development. That very night, Chloe’s doctors decided she needed an emergency C-section. Ripley was born weighing only 2 lbs., 10 oz. and 15 inches long.

Aug 06, 2018
Patient Stories

Eli Bryant

Elijah Bryant is a force to be reckoned with. In just 7 years of life, he’s bravely survived PICU, chemotherapy (twice), a bone marrow operation, radiation, 14 general anesthetics, 4 central lines, countless CT scans and whole months of his young life a full-time occupant of the hospital bed that he needed to call home.

Jul 30, 2018
Patient Stories

Fisher Kariher

The Kariher family of Gulf Breeze is just one of many families who have learned that you don’t have to look far for the best pediatric medical care. After searching the U.S. for the best physician to operate on her son’s brain tumor, Jules discovered that the best care was right in her own backyard at The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Jul 30, 2018
Patient Stories

Lauren Schlossberg

When Ashley Schlossberg of Pensacola was 24 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with a severe case of preeclampsia, a condition that causes the expectant mother’s blood pressure to rise and can be fatal to both mother and baby. Ashley was told she would need to have a Cesarean section. At 25 weeks, Lauren was born weighing 1 lb., 5 oz. and measuring just 12-1/2” long. “Think of a 20 oz. can of Coca-Cola,” says Ashley to describe how Lauren appeared at birth.

Jul 30, 2018
Patient Stories

Shae Burleson

Shae Burleson is a happy 9-year-old girl. You’d never know that a year ago, she spent 118 days in The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart. On September 23, 2016, Shae was in a terrible car accident while heading home from school. In the ambulance, paramedics told her to try to stay awake. The last thing she remembers is being wheeled into the hospital. Twenty-three days later, Shae woke up, ‘connected to a bunch of stuff.’ Over the next four months, her doctors, nurses and volunteers became like family. Shae would spend Halloween and Thanksgiving in the hospital, undergoing a total of 8 surgeries to repair the extensive damage caused by the accident. “I had a feeding tube, an ostomy, my belly open … it was such a relief to have all that gone,” Shae says. “Now, I just have my scars.” And a wonderful outlook on life. Shae’s aunt, Sharon, who works at Sacred Heart as a respiratory therapist, was by her side through it all. “These doctors and nurses really affect these kids’ lives,” Sharon says. “Coming from a tough background, she wants to grow up and take care of babies because of what she’s seen.” Sharon admits she, too, has changed because of what she witnessed. “Seeing the other side, I was amazed,” she says.

Jul 30, 2018
Patient Stories

A Home Away From Home

For Jessica Stevens and Matt Peacock, the doctors, nurses and staff at The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart became a part of their family during the scariest time of their lives. Having a child in the NICU can be an emotional rollercoaster. “Some days you take one step forward only to take 12 back,” Jessica says.

Jan 19, 2018
Patient Stories

Baby Valor: One of Many Sweet Reasons for the Cordova Mall Ball

Baby Valor: One of Many Sweet Reasons for the Cordova Mall Ball Baby-boy Valor Ervin made his entrance into the world last July in a smooth delivery following his mother’s healthy, full-term pregnancy. But the first week of his life was nothing short of eventful.

Dec 20, 2016