Share this article

print logo

'House of Miracles' chronicled

Jill Kelly admits that a hospital "is more than likely the last place you want to go."

"We dread going there because we are fearful," said Kelly, wife of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.

That is, unless "you have been faced with an issue requiring specialized care," she added.

"When faced with the greatest heartbreak of our lives, our family had no choice but to become very familiar with our local children's hospital -- Women and Children's Hospital."

Kelly offers her praise in "House of Miracles," a collection of accounts about the hospital assembled by Cliff Fazzolari, whose son's life was saved by the hospital's doctors. Fazzolari's book also contains short stories based on interviews with Women and Children's employees.

His son Jacob was successfully treated in 2001 at the hospital for a tumor that covered his entire chest cavity.

The Kellys' heartbreak was being "told that our infant son, Hunter, would not live past his second birthday. As a result of a very rare, degenerative, genetic disease called Krabbe leukodystrophy, we were told to take our son home and basically wait for him to die."

"There are no adequate words to describe the pain and frustration we experienced when told such devastating news," she noted.

However, as the Kellys dealt with Hunter's illness over 8 1/2 years, their "relationship with Women and Children's grew."

It was an experience shared by many other parents, like Trina Stinson, also in "House of Miracles." She calls her chronically ill son, Anthony, a "special-needs" child.

"The hospital and the staff have saved Anthony's life on many occasions," she said.

Stinson cautions other parents to never "take your children for granted! Show them each and every day that you love them, no matter what. Be thankful that they can play, or even fight with their siblings, or that they can fall and scrape a knee, or are able to be put in timeout -- I know that these are things that are frustrating to parents, but trust me, I long for it daily."

"We will not forget all that we learned through our experience and we will continue to support not only the medical team at the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, but the families as well," Kelly said.

For many parents, Women and Children's is a home away from home -- "a place where hearts were woven into a tapestry of lifetime friendships," testifies Kelly, co-founder of the Hunter's Hope Foundation. "Relationships involve trust and respect. Over time, we learned to not only trust the experts at the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo but also respect them."

Fazzolari, who belongs to a hospital family-centered care group, said he wanted his documentary to shine "some light on people who do more than what's expected."

He also includes the story of Olivia Stockmeyer, who was 14 months old when a patient.

The daughter of Kevin and Kim Stockmeyer entered the hospital for surgery for a cleft palate. After ensuing complications, she spent weeks in the intensive care unit in an induced coma, on a breathing machine, and through the development of serious lung problems.

"Olivia is currently a healthy, vibrant child," Fazzolari notes, "whose life was saved at the hospital."

And so is his son.

"Jake is extremely healthy, happy and wonderful -- a great boy!" exclaims Fazzolari.

He will donate a portion of the proceeds from his book to Women and Children's and give a reading this spring there when "House of Miracles" is published. Copies will be available at the hospital.
e-mail: lcontinelli@buffnews.com1

There are no comments - be the first to comment