CATEGORY: Our Patient Heroes

Heart transplant recipient Tonya Cajuste and her husband, JC

New heart gives her more time to love

Tonya Cajuste still laughs about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even though she ate it on the morning she almost died. Cajuste and her husband, JC, were getting ready for church one...
Rehab grad, Trey, with his family

After flip gone wrong, boy stays hopeful, but warns other kids

One moment, Trey Smetana was a normal 15-year-old, athletic enough to both play football and perform flips and tumbling runs. All that changed in an instant in a bounce house at a church camp two...
Avery and Evan at their lemonade stand

How best to respond to brother's illness? Make lemonade

When Avery Ranieri decided she wanted to sell lemonade to help sick children, she had no idea how big her effort would become. But the lemonade stand that 9-year-old Avery hosted a few weeks ago...
Two boys in a truck at Camp Hopetake

For these children, a place to celebrate and to heal

Ricky, 10, and Korben, 11, have waited all year for this week. So many rides, so much squealing, and no time to feel self-conscious about their scars, the visible evidence of their encounters with...
Two physical therapists looking at a young boy's injured arm at the trauma awareness luncheon

For trauma survivors, small gestures can mean big victories

15-year-old Briant Cummings smiled as he lifted his left hand and curled his fingers. Ordinarily, it would be a small gesture. But on this particular Wednesday, Briant’s action made the room...
parents with Margaret Mae

What did this mom get for Mother's Day? Her own little...

Margaret Mae Griffiths was born too little to be held. She arrived in the world last July 3. Three-and-a-half months early, she weighed just a pound and was unable to see or breathe on her own...
Curtistine Bryant

When cancer threatens, an innovative solution

Tampa resident Curtistine Bryant was looking forward to a milestone event when she got the bad news. Instead of looking forward to seeing her two granddaughters graduate from high school in May,...
A NCIU nurse practitioner meets one of her former patients with his father.

On World Prematurity Day, visitors with messages of hope

  To honor World Prematurity Day, representatives from the March of Dimes visited parents in Tampa General Hospital’s Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on Thursday,...
Frank Foster

Unstoppable…Until He Sprang a Leak

Frank Foster fought in the Korean War. At age 80, he still climbs ladders and paints. He works part-time as a handyman just to keep busy. He golfs with a passion and won’t hesitate to tell you that...
Man playing an acoustic guitar

Could a Machine Fix Danny's Broken Heart?

Danny Leandres woke up in a hospital bed. He didn’t know what had happened to him. Or that he had almost died. A nurse was the first person he saw. He asked if he was dreaming. She began, gently,...
Goutoufas brothers

For These Brothers, a Summer of Sound

    Tampa resident Elias Goutoufas has been unable to hear for most of his life. So has his brother, Davelis, or D.C. But earlier this summer, D.C. Goutoufas got cochlear implants...
Goutoufas

After a Lifetime of Silence, Sound

Davelis “D.C.” Goutoufas has never heard the voices of his wife or his daughter. That’s all about to change. Goutoufas, 47, has never let deafness stop him. A fourth-generation Tampa...
Letitia Browne-James

A Bold Choice to Fight Epilepsy

It was scary enough for Letitia Browne-James’ parents to witness their child’s epileptic seizures. But they were also frightened when a doctor suggested brain surgery for their 12-year-old. “My...
Doctor consulting patient

TGH Has New Treatment for Catastrophic Blood Clots

How many times can a single injury almost kill you? James Johnston knows it’s more than once. The 41-year-old generator mechanic at MacDill Air Force Base dodged death once by surviving a...
DeBoer and her dog

A message in spray paint, straight from the heart.

When 13-year-old Connor DeBoer was diagnosed with a deadly bone cancer, treatment was a long, uncertain road. When she reached the end of her journey, her mom spread the news in a big way. See the...
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