UW Health Kids patient stories: Remarkable kids; incredible stories

In a perfect world, no child would ever need to be hospitalized. Stories about hospitalized kids touch us deeply because we hate to see any child battling a tough disease. Fortunately, most of these children heal and live healthy lives. Hear directly from some of our remarkable pediatric patients and their family members who express incredible gratitude for their care from UW Health Kids.


They never stop fighting

“Kids” and “cancer” are two words that should never go together. It doesn’t happen often, but when a child is diagnosed, UW Health Kids Cancer experts are ready to act at a moment’s notice. Learn about some of the remarkable kids we have cared for and their brave battles against all types of childhood cancer.

Toddler Kinsley Judd wearing a snowman holidy outfit and dancing while in the hospital for cancer treatment
CancerKinsley dances through life — even in the hospital
Diagnosed with cancer at age 1, Kinsley shows how resilient even the sickest kids can be. A lovable “social butterfly,” Kinsley and her family look forward to a much more normal life ahead, thanks to UW Health Kids.
Carson Schmudlach smiling in a wheel chair
CancerSense of humor helped Carson through treatment for medulloblastoma
Battling through 121 straight days in the hospital, Carson and his family are very grateful to UW Health Kids for helping him survive a large brain tumor that was found just before he turned 13.
Toddler Kaliyah Nelson being held in a parents' arms
Sickle cell anemiaToddler Kaliyah and her family find treatment, comfort at UW Health Kids
Life with sickle cell anemia is never easy for little Kaliyah. When she needs care, however, her mom completely trusts UW Health Kids because “they know her from A to Z” in Madison.


Grateful to be alive

It’s hard to believe that even a child might become sick enough to need a new kidney, liver, pancreas or lung. Since 1966, UW Health Kids has performed more than 600 transplants on children. Learn about some of these remarkable kids who are enjoying life today, thanks to the generous gift of life from a donor.

Ephraim and his father, Josiah
TransplantEphraim’s life is saved by a liver transplant from his father
After developing acute liver failure, 6-year-old Ephraim needed a new liver to save his life. His father, Josiah, answered the call by giving a portion of his liver to his son. UW Health Kids transplant experts did the rest.
Baby Lucas Hougom and his liver donor Christina Wettstein
Transplant'Everything turned out the way it was supposed to' for Lucas
Lucas was only 4 months old when he was diagnosed with a rare liver disease that could have taken his life. Through social media channels, an old high school friend of Lucas’ mother donated a part of her liver so that UW Health Kids’ transplant experts could save this little boy.
Kingston Vang Wraggs with his father, Tommy Wraggs
TransplantKingston’s kidney transplant journey
One of the sickest children seen by the UW Health Kids transplant team, Kingston is finally on his way to a better life after overcoming countless hurdles, culminating with his receipt of a new kidney.

Heart care

Little hearts; big stories

Just like adults, kids can be diagnosed with serious heart defects. Sometimes, the only way to save a tiny newborn, infant or child is with open heart surgery. A child’s heart is about the size of a walnut, so only highly skilled pediatric heart surgeons and specialists such as those at UW Health Kids are best suited for the job. Learn about some of these incredible kids.

A baby in an infant seat
Heart careBoone battles back from serious heart defect
Boone’s family did its homework when their little boy Boone needed open heart surgery. Learning that UW Health’s Pediatric Heart Program has a stellar reputation, they drove a little farther from their small Iowa town to Madison to ensure that Boone received outstanding care.
Newborn Daxton Noggle and parents Amber and Dustin
Heart careDaxton’s heart was in the right place
Amber was still pregnant with her baby, Daxton, when she learned he would be born with a complex heart defect. Open-heart surgery performed at UW Health Kids just after Daxton’s birth paved the way for a remarkable recovery.
Joelle Devries with Dr. Petros Anagnostopoulos
Heart careJoelle’s heart is a aglow, despite complex defect at birth
Little Joelle needed several open-heart surgeries to repair a complex heart defect. Even after moving from Wisconsin to Oklahoma, her family still drove 16 hours each way to UW Health in Madison when Joelle needed major medical intervention.


Care for growing bones, muscles and joints

UW Health Kids Orthopedics doctors routinely see children with bone, muscle or joint problems, scoliosis, trauma injuries and many other concerns. Our UW Health Kids Fitness Clinic is a popular destination for children who struggle with physical activity. Check out the remarkable stories of some of our patients.

A little girl with dark blonde hair
OrthopedicsUW Health Kids gives girl with rare bone disease a chance to have normal childhood
A rare disease that prevents bone growth prevented Raleigh from enjoying a normal childhood. Today, she is chasing chickens and riding her bike, thanks to a novel orthopedic treatment approach from UW Health Kids.
Jacob Haag
OrthopedicsSpine surgery put Jacob back in the game
Jacob is an athlete who loves being active. But doctors discovered a problem in his neck that left him one collision away from grave danger. Thanks to the teamwork of UW Health Kids doctors, he’s now back on the field and court.
Two people talking while seated
OrthopedicsCaitlin’s fierce drive takes on life’s obstacles
Physical challenges have been plentiful for Caitlin, but nobody has overcome them with more relentless determination, backed by UW Health Kids experts in many different medical fields.

Brain and spine

Life-altering care

The list is endless: Epilepsy, persistent headaches, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, spinal cord problems, hydrocephalus and more. Children from Wisconsin and beyond are cared for by UW Health Kids neurologists and neurosurgeons with life-altering and often life-saving treatment. Learn more about these remarkable children through their stories of healing and gratitude.

Smiling child sitting
Brain and spineMilena’s epilepsy story
After suffering from seizures for months without improvement, Milena underwent a complex brain surgery performed at UW Health Kids. The results were startling, and Milena has been seizure-free ever since.
A child receiving a kiss on the cheek from a parent
Brain and spineYou’d never know now that as a baby, Paige’s head was misshapen
Paige was born with a rare condition that prevented the bones in her head from joining properly. UW Health Kids surgeons fixed the problem, allowing this delightful, spunky girl to grow up without a visible trace of the deformity.
Toddler Colton Cox, swinging a plactic baseball bat at a tee, wearing a Kansas City Royals jersey and hat
Brain and spineSurgery provides 'night-and-day' change for Colton’s rare bone condition
UW Health Kids is one of just a handful of places in the U.S. that could help Colton, who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism. Today, he is a happy, social and smart little boy who charms the ladies with his smile.

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