Neonatologists in Virginia shook their heads and told Amber they had done all they could for her daughter, Aubrey. She was a month old and was born with severe short bowel syndrome. Her small intestine was unable to absorb enough nutrition from food. She also had stage-3 liver disease. Her parents refused to give up. They sought help from gastroenterologist Dr. Clarivet Torres at Children’s National Hospital’s Intestinal Rehabilitation Program.

“We went from being told, ‘sorry there’s nothing else we can do,’ to Dr. Torres saying, ‘we have a program designed for your daughter, let us help you,’” Amber recalls. “She gave us hope for our little girl.”

Aubrey and her family have faced many challenges over the last 8 years—seizures, hospitalizations, surgeries and infections. “We’ve cried a river of tears,” says Amber, “but Aubrey is still here and fighting.” The care at Children’s National plus the warm smiles and words of encouragement from everyone on Aubrey’s team have gotten the family through the hardest times, Amber says. The care team also helped pay for the family’s parking and meals during Aubrey’s hospitalizations.

“Everyone on that unit—from Krystal Artis, the physician assistant, to Ms. Vivian at the front desk and Rico the custodial worker—are like family to us now. Their gestures of kindness, large and small, have meant the world to us.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.