Annual Giving Campaign
Your donation helps to ensure that UBCHO and GMCH can continue to provide emergency care, on-going treatment, transitional, respite, and end-of-life care for children in need.
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When Jabari was seven months old, his parents, Kristalle and Reggie, learned that he had a genetic condition called spinal muscular atrophy 1, a rare genetic disorder that would probably take their son’s life before he turned two years old.
Following an operation to insert a feeding tube to address Jabari’s swallowing and breathing issues, Kristalle and Reggie received the devastating news that their son’s condition was declining and he had only a very short time to live. Having already toured George Mark Children’s House for anticipated transitional care, Kristalle and Reggie put their trust in George Mark for end of life care for Jabari.
Reggie says, “We didn’t want to do things that would make Jabari suffer unnecessarily just to prolong his life. We made decisions along the way to keep up his spirits and make sure he was happy. From the moment we arrived, we felt that George Mark had our best interests at heart.”
George Mark provided the family the setting to give Jabari and his parents what they needed: to be close together and to make Jabari feel safe and loved. “Jabari had a beautiful smile. At George Mark, Jabari was the baby that we knew all that time,” said Kristalle.
Kristalle, Reggie, and Jabari had three days together at George Mark. Kristalle’s and Reggie’s love for their son is as strong now as it was before he passed away at 17 months old. Reflecting on their experience as Jabari’s parents, Reggie and Kristalle agree, “You don’t want to look back with regrets. It’s hard enough. When we look back, we look at happy times and positive times. We have a lifetime of memories.”
Reggie now sits on the Board of Directors of George Mark Children’s House.
In July 2013, six-month-old Leah suffered a three-day fever that resulted in septic shock and she was airlifted from her local hospital to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland (CHO), where she was diagnosed with Severe Congenital Neutropenia. Since her initial admission to CHO, she has braved two bone marrow transplants, 12 central lines, and over 20 hospital admissions, totaling over 400 days away from home.
Leah knows that her blood is “broken,” and she knows that her team of doctors at CHO are working to fix it. Throughout her journey, she has found many moments of happiness. An adorably sassy lip sync video she made went viral, rallying a huge community of friends and strangers to support her on her road to recovery. Using the video as a platform, Leah’s family started the #bethematch campaign to urge people to sign up to be bone marrow donors. Since then, over 1,000 people have signed up to be donors in honor of Leah.
Leah has been out of the hospital for more than a year and continues to amaze her doctors with astonishing breakthroughs on her road to recovery. Soon, she will be able to do long awaited things that mean the world to her, like play outside with her older brother and sister like the joyful five-year-old she is!