11-Year-Old Tells Story of Hope and Healing at Children’s Ball

More than eight years after surviving a life-threatening accident, Chase Essex was a featured guest at the 2016 Children’s Ball on April 15. In a video shown at the event, Chase and his parents expressed their gratitude for the care he received after he accidentally swallowed lye and damaged his esophagus. Today he’s living a full life and doesn’t let having a trach hold him back.

“It’s hard to even conceive a child going through what he’s gone through in terms of what he’s endured,” his father said. “Chase has had more than 30 surgeries, but even though he has special needs, he has absolutely nothing else wrong with him. Pretty much everything he would want to do he can do. His mother said, “It’s been a really long eight years with Chase. It’s been a path that I’ve taken with a whole lot of staff at Children’s National, and I couldn’t have taken that trip without them. It’s not just treating the illness, it’s treating the child. And I knew that going in, and that’s why Chase had to be there.”

Even after everything he’s been through, Chase says he enjoys his visits to Children's National. “I look forward to going to the hospital and seeing the child life specialists, my doctors, and my nurses,” he said. He also encourages other children who are hospitalized. “I like to make their stay better. I go into their room and say, ‘Everything’s going to be okay. It’s not that bad.’” Watch his video.

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