Stories - Our Kids

Meet Ryden

If it weren’t for donors like you, 6 year old Ryden Poirier may not be alive today. It’s a fact not lost on his Mom Jodi Walls;

“I was told that even 15 years ago my son’s chances of survival would have been a lot less,” says Jodi, “but because of research and technology he had a much greater chance of being okay.”

About 20 weeks into Jodi’s pregnancy, abnormal test results revealed her baby had gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall. This condition causes the baby’s intestines to stick outside of the body through a hole beside the belly button. Soon after birth, surgery is required to place the organs back inside the baby’s body and repair the defect.

“I saw Ryden for a few minutes when he was born and then he was taken off to surgery,” says Jodi. “He was 4 days old when I was able to kiss him for the first time. It was really hard.”

Challenging days stretched over months, with Ryden undergoing dozens of surgeries. Thanks to your donations, Jodi never had to leave his side.

“I slept in one of those companion chairs for months because I would not leave my baby,” remembers Jodi. “If he cried at 4 a.m., I wanted to be the one to comfort him. I cannot say thank you enough to the Foundation, and its donors, because they’re the reason I had somewhere to sleep where I could be a mother to my son.”

After 7 months Ryden finally came home, and following many treatments and appointments the magical day arrived when the pediatrician told Jodi to treat Ryden like a regular kid.

“That was such a great day”, remembers Jodi. “It’s overwhelming to see how research and treatment changed the outcome for my son. I heard a lot of stories from other families who dealt with this diagnosis years ago, and their outcomes were a lot different. We are so grateful.”

It’s that gratitude that compels Jodi to give back. Through her work as a realtor, Jodi decided to pledge a portion of every transaction to support the Children’s Hospital.

“Every little bit makes such a big difference,” says Jodi. “It means that parents are able to be beside their babies every night. It’s so challenging to live at the hospital and every donation brings a little bit of normal. It makes a huge difference.”

For Jodi, it just scratches the surface of the gratitude she feels.

“Without people giving I don’t know that I would have my son, so how do I say thank you for that,” asks Jodi? “Because of your donations, I was able to take my baby home. There are families and lives saved every day because people took the time to give.”