Meet Rebekah and Sam Plant. Rebekah was born five weeks early in November 2011. She was gray in color and had underdeveloped lungs that caused her to breathe incorrectly. Parents, Sarah and Chris, as well as baby Rebekah, were transported to St. Elizabeth’s NICU where they stayed to care for Rebekah for two days. Sarah remembers how bleak the situation looked for Rebekah, however being amazed at how much all of the nurses and doctors cared about their baby too. Next, the family was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital main campus via Air Bear. Having discovered two holes in her heart, they decided Rebekah would go home to grow for a few months and then be transported to Akron Children’s Hospital Main campus for surgery.

In March, Rebekah, Sarah and Chris went to Akron where Rebekah was in open heart surgery for four hours. Today, Rebekah is healthy and happy child who loves to climb, travel, go to the beach and help her parents with her brother Sam. While they only come back to the hospital for check-ups and to give blood, Sarah says that it is incredibly comforting to know that Akron Children’s Hospital is so close and continues to provide such quality care for her family.

Sam Plant had his first encounter with Akron Children’s Hospital when he had weird side effects after he ate a cashew in the beginning of 2016. He lied down on the floor, his breathing slowed, and he threw up.  

After consulting with their regular pediatrician, Sarah and Chris decided to bring Sam to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley because they were so familiar with the hospital from when they had their daughter Rebekah there before. Since they live in Mineral Ridge, the proximity of the Mahoning Valley campus was perfect for them. They determined Sam had a nut, tree nut, and seed allergy.

Sarah couldn’t be more thankful for what Akron Children’s Hospital has done for her two kids, Rebekah and Sam. “They treat you like you are totally competent and can answer any questions you have.” She feels like when they are at Akron Children’s, they are treated like family and are very thankful for the staff.


The Robertson triplets, Michael, Mathew, and Morgan, where born premature at only 29 weeks. When they were born, they were admitted to the NICU at St. Elizabeth’s. Their conditions were critical. Michael and Mathew were both ventilated while Morgan was not. At week 1, both boys had developed brain bleeds. By week 3, Michael had hydrocephalus. This meant there was water on his brain and he needed to have it drained. At that point he was transferred to Akron Children’s Hospital main campus. Mathew spent 68 days in the NICU and Michael spent 77 days there.

During this very nerve wracking time, their mother Kelly says that she was amazed by the amount of communication between the two campuses during this process. With the conditions of both boys, they still come to the Mahoning Valley campus for treatments and checkups. They have many services at the Mahoning Valley campus such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, MRI, EEG, and more. Their parents commented how much they love the Mahoning Valley campus and how the proximity to their homes makes things much easier than driving an hour away. Kelly said they feel like family at the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and everyone is always so kind. Regardless of the reason they were there, Kelly says that the people here take care of her family and answer any questions they may have.

Today, Mathew, Michael, and Morgan, are very active children. They are smart kids that love to play soccer, read books, and listen to music. Kelly has the wish for her children that every mother has: for her kids to be happy and healthy and to grow up to be anything they want to be!


On April 8, 2016, Megan and Josh Osborn gave brith to their twin girls, Finley and Riley, at 23 weeks. Each only weighing one pound, five ounces. They were delivered by emergency c-section at St. Elizabeth’s in Boardman and rushed Downstairs to the Akron Children’s NICU. 
Unfortunately, Finley passed away a few hours after she was born and Riley’s little body started crashing the next day. The NICU doctors told Megan and Josh that Riley’s brain and lungs were bleeding. They did not expect her to survive the weekend. They were told that if she did survive, Riley would never be able to breathe on her own, never eat, talk, walk on her own. She could very likely be blind and deaf. 
After 130 days in the NICU, Megan and Josh finally got to bring Riley home on August 15, 2016! They call it Homecoming Day! 
When Riley was one and a half,  she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Every week, Riley goes to the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley for occupational and physical therapy. She has tight muscles that make it hard for her to walk and do certain fine motor activities. She uses braces and a pretty purple walker to help her walk on her own. She has some visual impairment, so she gets to wear some super cool glasses.
Megan says, “Our little family wouldn’t have made it through 130 days in the NICU without the support and help and encouraging words from our family and friends, the gifted doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, and receptionists at Akron Children’s Hospital, and the kindness of strangers we met along the way.” 
Now, Riley loves music, dancing, and singing! She also loves learning, especially numbers and letters! She loves stories and is a big fan of Sesame Street and Pete the Cat. She is motivated by clapping and chocolate, and loves to be silly and smile! Riley’s middle name is Joy, and she lives it out loud! 


Aria Wharry was born on June 2, 2015 with Shone’s Complex. Shone’s Complex is a rare congenital heart disease that consists of multiple defects on the left side of the heart.⁠⁣ For a child to be diagnosed with Shone’s Complex, they must have three out of the eight lesions. Aria unfortunately had seven. 

Aria had her first open heart surgery at just 6 days old and her second at 5 months old.⁠⁣ Aria was known for her dance moves, cat noises, and being a sassy little girl!⁠⁣ 

Since her passing, her family keeps her memory alive with heart walks, radiothons, scholarships, remembrance ceremonies, and Dance Marathons! Aria spent 18 months as the Wharry family’s Supergirl. People will never forget the joy Aria brought to the world!⁠⁣

The Stringer Family

Donovan Stringer was born on October 30, 2008.  At just seven years old he was playing a game of soccer when he got hit in the stomach with the ball so hard that he was taken to the hospital only to discover a cancerous tumor on his liver.   He was then diagnosed with undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma of the liver: a rare pediatric tumor.  

Being that this cancer only makes up 1% of cancer in children, Donovan had to go through seven rounds of chemotherapy, which unfortunately had only shrunk his tumor about 7%. Donovan got through this harsh time with comics by his side.  He named his tumor Darkseid after the DC villain, his medical tube the Boom-tube and his chemotherapy Wonder Woman.

Thankfully, with three more rounds of “Wonder Woman” and a quick responsive surgery for removal of the tumor performed by Donovan’s doctor, he was able to defeat his cancer!  Donovan loves cooking now in his spare time and his happy go lucky personality would never give away the fact that he is a miracle child! 

The Kennedy Family

In October of 2019, Hudson came into the world with a difficult start. After a few hours of being born, Hudson began to violently throw up and he had not passed his first meconium (first stool) so the nurses began to worry about his condition. The team had started noticing some other destressing signs after his transfer to the NICU at Saint Elizabeth’s and within 24 hours of being born, he was rushed to Akron Children’s Main campus NICU with the symptoms of sepsis.  

When Hudson arrived at main campus the doctors went straight to work taking biopsies, putting him on IV meds, and placing his Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC line) in his thigh to administer medication and other important IV fluids he needed to survive. The doctor team soon concluded that he was going to need a lifesaving surgery where they remove sections of his small intestine and colon that were not working properly. This condition was called Hirschsprung’s Disease; where a baby is unable to pass stool on their own and thus are unable to eat to survive.  

 Luckily, after further testing and expert review over the next few days, the large team of experts believed Hudson would not need the surgery. They found some normal cells among the abnormal cells in his colon and they were hopeful some therapies would help Hudson’s nerves and muscles grow to function on their own. After 16 days in the NICU, Hudson was sent home with a therapy treatment that would eventually be weaned out at 9 months of age. Hudson is now a healthy and happy two-year-old who enjoys gymnastics, singing, baking, and construction vehicles.

The Codner Family

The Codner families journey started in May of 2020- in the beginning of COVID precautions, they noticed that their son Andrew, then 4 1/2,  was a little more tired, his legs were hurting and his eyes were swelling. They thought he was having a seasonal allergy issue from playing outside. One night, he slipped in the shower and his parents saw he had petechiae (tiny bruises that can indicate an infection or cancer). They took him to his pediatrician who tested him for all sorts of things and took bloodwork. 
They called the family later that day and instructed them to take Andrew immediately to Akron Children’s Main Campus. They were then immediately taken to the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. Andrew’s mom Tristan remembers thinking this couldn’t be real. The next 9 days were spent in the hospital where Andrew was officially diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This was 5 months after losing Tristan’s sister to her long battle with Ewings Sarcoma, another form of childhood cancer. 

He received his chemo port (his Arc Reactor) and was given the name “Iron Andrew”. 
That began the rollercoaster ride of the families next year and a half. Andrew had endured many clinic visits, a few ER visits and a few inpatient stays. He had days when it hurt to walk from chemo-induced neuropathy. He has had so many COVID tests and spinal taps where they inject chemo into his spinal cord.  He needed physical and occupational therapy sessions. He had many days where he was too nauseated to eat. Andrew lost his hair but was so excited when it grew back! The family had to isolate due to low counts and COVID precautions and he just returned to Kindergarten in person in December after he was able to get the COVID vaccine. 
Andrew is scheduled to be officially done with treatment on Sept. 16, 2022, and he wants to ring the bell and immediately go to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate!