Inspiring Stories

Ashley Melvin had a blast this summer swimming at camp, walking her dog in her Eastern Shore hometown, celebrating her Sweet Sixteen at a bowling alley.

What a difference a year makes. In August 2002, paramedics rushed to Ashley's house when she fell and her frightened grandparents realized they couldn't help her get up. At 397 lbs, Ashley was dangerously overweight. The teen depended on oxygen 24 hours a day and her feet had swollen so large she could not wear shoes.

Ashley's...

Loretta McRaeAs she typed the words into the Internet search engine, Loretta McRae knew it was a long shot. In the months since the 15-year-old struck her head on an ocean sandbar in Australia, sustaining a C6 level spinal cord injury, virtually every expert said she'd already gotten her miracle. She was alive, she could...

Liza Patchel and Her MomLiza Patchel has grown used to being told of the many things she will never do. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, doctors said she would never speak or walk. When she enrolled in public school, administrators said she would never play for their sports teams. Even as she studied her...

Kerrel Williams with Pediatric Nurse PractitionerEach year, Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Development and Learning evaluates and treats several thousand children with ADHD. The evaluation includes a detailed medical, developmental and behavioral history of...

Krystal Spencer with Her SonWhen Krystal Spencer came to Kennedy Krieger for her regular clinic visit in September, she couldn't resist showing off her baby son Justin. A Kennedy Krieger patient for more than a decade, Spencer is a familiar face to many of the physicians, nurses and therapists in the Outpatient department all of whom were...

Sixteen-year-old Travis Smith can't wait to try out for his Baltimore City high school's football team next fall. He's a lot like most boys his age: non-stop energy. Today, that energy is channeled positively, a big change from when he first started school. Back then, his mother Natasha Lewis was at her wits end, receiving phone calls practically on a daily basis telling her to come pick him up from school. The reasons varied: Travis had hit another child. Travis had lashed out at a teacher...

Ritchie JacobRiding a bicycle comes as second nature to most 15-year-old boys. But for Richie Jacob, it was a major milestone. Three months earlier, Richie couldn't walk. He could barely talk. Doctors gave him a 50 percent chance of survival.

On February 4, Richie was involved in a serious car accident. He suffered from life-threatening injuries...

The day Sheiku Koroma was born in 1994, his parents had no reason to anticipate the challenges he'd face growing up. He seemed healthy at first, like any other newborn. But a severe infection combined with increased newborn jaundice led to an injury in the basal ganglia region of his brain, an area controlling movement and speech. As a result, Sheiku developed extraparymidal cerebral palsy, which affects his entire body and is accompanied by uncontrollable movements...

Patrick RummerfieldFor someone who has been paralyzed from the neck down, the idea of ever walking again, driving a car or even doing something as simple as giving a friend a hug probably seems like a distant dream.

Imagine, for a moment, the tremendous hope and inspiration someone in this position feels the first time they meet...

Little Eric Miller* had a rough start in life. Struggling with severe acid reflux from the time he was just a few days old, he spent much of his first few months shuttling from one doctor to another, enduring countless X-rays, CT scans and other tests. Mom Brenda Baker*, desperate to relieve his discomfort, decided to keep him propped up as much as possible, even putting him in his car seat to sleep. She began to notice that his head seemed larger than normal and tilted to the right....