Helen van Riel
Mass General is the reason that my mom is alive today and living a healthy life. We have required MGH's expertise on numerous occasions to help ensure that she is healthy. In 2002, she required a double valve replacement to repair a murmur that had developed as a result of having Rheumatic Fever as a child. Under the care of Dr. Palacios and the staff at MGH, she made a fast recovery and lives with two mechanical valves today. At the time, I was only in middle school and I was terrified of the hospital and the fact that my mom had to stay there. I didn't know that we'd need the help of MGH again in just over ten years.
My mom was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2013. For most people affected by this type of leukemia, it is very manageable, but after just 6 months she required chemotherapy. She had complications from the chemotherapy in June of 2013 and had to be transported from our local Norwood Hospital who could not care for her at the level that she needed. I was never more grateful for the ambulatory team and the emergency response teams that helped my mom when she was septic and things were taking a turn for the worse. The amazing teams took care of her and allowed her to come home after one week. After another round of chemo, I took her to the ER on August 30, 2013 for what I did not realize was going to be a month long stay in the ICU to deal with intense complications to the chemo. As I write this, we are celebrating the 3 year anniversary of when she was able to come home from the hospital and rehab center.
My family owes Mass General so much more than I could ever put into words. I am so proud to run for Team MGH and raise funds for the Emergency Response Team. MGH is the hospital that has ensured my favorite person in the world is healthy. I only want to pass that on to as many families as I can.
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