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"Arkansas Children's Hospital is awesome in our book," says Melanie Madkin. A single mom and x-ray technician living in Pine Bluff, Melanie says she would take her kids to ACH for treatment before anywhere else. Recently, it's become a familiar drive.
In September 2017, Melanie's daughter Cali was 4 years old when she fell from her grandmother's bed and broke her arm. The regional medical center referred her to the ACH Emergency Department, where Melanie was impressed with the swift care Cali received and the extra effort staff made to comfort her.
"Cali was in pain," Melanie remembers. "She didn't want anyone to touch her…just Mommy. But the staff did their best to take her mind off what was happening. They brought in bubbles, gave her a frozen treat and played with her."
The orthopedic experts at ACH performed surgery on Cali that night, and Melanie says she was given excellent instructions on how to manage Cali's pain at home and was encouraged to ask questions and communicate any concerns. "I felt like I could go to them for anything, with no hesitation," says Melanie.
It wasn't long before Cali was back to her exuberant self. Melanie teasingly describes her kids as "kind of accident-prone," so the possibility of returning to ACH in the future with a similar mishap wasn't unimaginable. But when Cali's big brother, 11-year-old Casey, was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Melanie was shocked.
"It was a hard pill to swallow," says the nutrition-conscious mom. For Casey, who dreams of being a professional basketball player, the news was potentially devastating. But Melanie credits the pediatric Cardiology team at ACH with helping them maintain a positive and proactive outlook.
"They were very optimistic," Melanie says. "They told Casey, 'we're going to get you through this. That's why you are here.' And Casey's doctor was awesome. He told Casey he couldn't play contact sports right now, but that he will be able to play one day." Those words gave Casey's dream back to him, Melanie says.
"We're going to keep doing what the doctor tells us to do and remain positive. We know we are in great hands. The team at ACH are all about educating and informing us about the things we need to do to improve his situation. We're going to press on and get better."
Both Casey and his mom are thrilled he was recently accepted into the gifted-and-talented program at school. "He has a purpose in life. I tell him, 'we're going to get your blood pressure under control. You're going to do great things.'"
Melanie says she treasures the way ACH relates to children and their parents. By being an Ambassador family, she hopes to reassure others that there is hope and help to be found there. "You can come out on top and get better at ACH. That's what happened to my children."
Arkansas Children's Ambassadors represent the thousands of children treated annually at Arkansas Children's. If you would like to learn more about the Ambassadors program, please contact the Foundation at 800-880-7491 or email email@example.com.