Tiny little fingers spread wide as they dive tips-first into a sea of pink and blue birthday heaven. A frosting-stuffed fist eventually emerges, cake pieces squishing between knuckles.
There’s a reason they call it a smash cake.
There are squeals all right. But they don’t come from little Kimbriah in her tutu-covered high chair. Born at 1.1 pounds a year ago, she can’t make much of a sound with the tracheostomy that helps her breathe. Her smiles show her glee.
Kimbriah had many people nervous for a very long time. Physicians lost sleep. Hearts were captured. Here. On her first birthday in the neonatal intensive care unit with her fan base nearby, you see why.
As usual with Kimbriah, the crowd is large, the party is hoppin’ with more than a dozen Johns Hopkins All Children’s name tags swinging back and forth in the commotion. She holds court with that personality. That light.
Not all survive what she has come through. Those who do become a bit of a rock star. Low-birth-weight preemie status. Chronic lung disease. Pulmonary hypertension. Multiple viruses. Feeding tube. Breathing issues. Surgery. Trach. Success.
She goes home in a few days. Big smiles all around.
Something to truly celebrate.
As the vaccine comes to the frontline workers, a world of possibilities begins to open up.
For Gavin, the hospital isn’t all about challenges and adversity. It’s about giving joy to others.
The holidays she has altered to care for kids are too many to count, but as she retires, she leaves much for patients and colleagues to be thankful.
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