WakeMed Foundation Donor Profiles
Why do people give to the WakeMed Foundation? There are many reasons, but one of the most common things we hear when someone makes a donation is, “I (or my loved one) was a patient at WakeMed and received lifesaving care. I want to give back as a way to say thank you.” These stories and gifts of gratitude make it possible for that world-class health care to help others in our community, state and region.
We invite you to read some of the moving testimonials from people who have benefitted from the services at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. Now they’re “paying it forward” as WakeMed Foundation donors and they invite you to give, too. Below is one of these many special stories.
From Patient Parent to Donor: The Robert Ange Family
Call it a hunch. Call it mother’s intuition. Call it what you’d like, but when Kristen Ange’s eight-week old daughter Courtney stopped eating and became fussy, the first-time mom knew something was wrong. Kristen took the baby’s temperature, which registered at only 94 degrees. “I called my pediatrician, Ruffin Franklin, MD, at Capital Pediatrics, and the receptionist told me he could see Courtney during the office’s after-hours clinic. Thank goodness I followed my instincts and didn’t wait till the next day to go to the doctor,” says Kristen.
By the time Dr. Franklin saw Courtney, she was making strange noises that mimicked pneumonia. He encouraged Kristen to take her to WakeMed’s Children’s Emergency Department as a precautionary measure. Kristen and her husband Robert drove to the hospital and watched helplessly as Courtney progressively got sicker. “They began a battery of tests to try to figure out what was wrong with her,” explains Kristen. “Courtney began having problems breathing, and they put her on oxygen. They told us she was fighting off something, but they didn’t know what it was. We were terrified.”
When Courtney’s tests came back, her caregivers in the Children’s ED realized she was suffering from congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a condition where the stomach and intestine herniate up through a hole in the diaphragm, causing reduced lung capacity and the eventual death of the stomach. J. Duncan Phillips, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Director of Pediatric Surgery for WakeMed Children’s Hospital performed surgery on Courtney to correct the problem. “It was the longest hour-and-a-half of our lives waiting for her to come out of the operation,” says Kristen. Afterwards, Dr. Phillips explained that there are only about 20 such cases in North Carolina each year. “We were very fortunate he had the expertise to care for Courtney. It was a blessing.”
The couple spent four days in WakeMed’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with Courtney, and she made a full recovery. “We can’t say enough great things about Drs. Travis Honeycutt and Mark Field and all the nurses who cared for our baby in the PICU,” Kristen says. “And the facility was so nice. The rooms provide parents a place to sleep, so we were able to stay with Courtney. WakeMed helped us make the best out of a very difficult situation.”
Courtney has grown into an active three-year-old, and she now has an eight-month-old little brother named Watkins. Parents Kristen and Robert Ange say that since Courtney’s experience at WakeMed Children’s, they have become vocal supporters of the hospital. “We’ve joined the WakeMed Foundation’s Society of 1961 and are a part of Friends of WakeMed Children’s,” explains Robert, who serves as Associate General Counsel at General Parts International. “When we became parents, we realized how lucky we are to have such a terrific hospital in our own backyard, and we are eternally grateful for what the people at WakeMed did for Courtney. We hope families never have to go through a child’s illness or injury, but if they do, we know WakeMed Children’s is the place to go.”