Eight-year-old Huntley loves the outdoors — fishing with his dad, swimming with his little sister — and he also has a mean golf swing. He is a child who loves life, even with the unique challenges it has presented him.
Huntley’s story was a highlight at the inaugural A Night for All Children, a new signature event to support Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. The event, held April 30, combines two longtime staples of support for the hospital and its patients, the Charity Ball and the VIP Auction. The Charity Ball had been held for 89 years by the Evening Branch of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation Guild, while the Foundation held the VIP Auction for 31 years before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 event.
This year’s virtual A Night for All Children had a theme of Hidden Gems and raised $230,241 through a live auction, community sponsorships and other highlights with proceeds benefiting the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Sponsors like Bankers Insurance ensured that despite the challenge of a virtual event, the community could still rally support for the hospital and help it surpass its fundraising goal. The night typically highlights a family impacted by the care at Johns Hopkins All Children’s and this was no exception, with Huntley’s story being a centerpiece for the one-hour live broadcast.
In his first hours, weeks and months after birth, Huntley struggled with the effects of group B streptococcus, an infection that would nearly cost him his life. While he overcame those early medical challenges, the hurdles involved in helping Huntley to achieve optimal mental and behavioral health were just beginning.
Huntley has been diagnosed with autism and a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), making it more difficult for him to learn and to engage socially. But with specialized therapies and expert guidance from the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Huntley is thriving. He’s improving in school, making new friends, and gaining in self-confidence with each new day.
“If we had not had these services through the Center for Behavioral Health, I don’t think Huntley would be able to function academically or socially at the level that he is today,” his mom, Amy, says. “He is able to embrace all of the things that make life joyful.”