Sasha and her brother, Christopher, know that care is a team sport. After their father passed away, Sasha unexpectedly became Christopher’s guardian, and the curve balls kept coming. Doctors discovered a brain tumor at 18 months. Christopher has now been proudly cancer free for 16 years, with help from his medical team at Children’s National Hospital.
“After the surgery, they said he wouldn’t make it past five,” Sasha says. “Now he’s talking about going to prom!”
With external hearing aids after his cancer surgery, Christopher remains partially deaf. Sasha has found support in caring for Christopher through the hospital’s patient advocacy program and his compassionate providers.
“The doctors are all so patient in the way they explain things,” she says. “They take their time with the kids and don’t just rush. They listen to you.”
Because of the complexity of Christopher’s condition, he sees several specialists across the hospital, starting from his first visit due to tracheal bleeding at 9 years old. However, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) was Christopher’s second home, where he stayed for pneumonia soon after his first visit and later continued to receive care before returning home at night, supported by a ventilator. His care team dubbed him the Governor of the PICU, as he amicably waves goodbye to his fellow patients.
Christopher thrives as a student at the Maryland School for the Deaf and loves basketball, duck pin bowling, bocce and billiards. Along with a teammate, he won a gold medal in bowling at Special Olympics. Like any athlete, he keeps competing with himself to get better, including in his daily life.
“I just love being able to see him grow and progress,” Sasha says. “His communication skills have improved so much.”
Christopher’s expressive nature comes out easily, sparing his poker face for playing UNO. No matter what card he draws next, he knows he has everything he needs to win.
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