SPARTANBURG — Owen Rush was two weeks old when he had his first brain surgery. Before his first birthday, he underwent four more.
Owen, now six years old, was born with hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain; and he later was diagnosed with epilepsy and autism. His brain and motor skills are those of a toddler.
Since he was four months old, Owen has attended Spartanburg Regional’s Pediatric Rehabilitation program and celebrated his successes with them the 18th Annual Pediatric Rehabilitation Christmas Party. The party was hosted by the Spartanburg Regional Pediatric Rehabilitation Department on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The party was sponsored by the Judy Bradshaw Children’s Foundation Fund established through the Spartanburg Regional Foundation with each child receiving a gift specific to their special needs. Patients and their families gathered for food, games and gifts in the Spartanburg Medical Center Outpatient Center Lobby.
“A special needs life is hard, and it’s so overwhelming and such a blessing that Spartanburg Regional spends so much time with each child and buying them a personal gift,” Stacie said. “The fact that the Foundation and Mrs. Bradshaw donates all of this money is so wonderful to help give our babies the best lives possible.”
This year, more than 430 children received gifts to help them with developmental disorders. These gifts were opened with exclamations of excitement during the party.
“Judy Bradshaw has generously supported the patients of Pediatric Rehabilitation Services through the Spartanburg Regional Foundation for more than 18 years by funding the Annual Pediatric Rehabilitation Services Christmas party,” said Kristy Caradori, Spartanburg Regional Foundation Executive Director. “When the children open their gifts, they are just overwhelmed. Many of these children would never receive gifts of this nature without the generosity of Mrs. Bradshaw.”
This year’s Christmas party was even more special to Owen and his mom Stacie. A year ago, Stacie didn’t know if her son Owen would see another holiday. Hospitalized from October to December with a brain-bleed, the holiday season was grim for the Rush family.
“Last year, I was so fearful, so I am thrilled that we have had a great year and can be a part of the party this year,” she said.
“The children and their parents were so excited. They couldn’t believe it and they wanted to play with their gifts right then,” said Sharon Caston, SRHS Pediatric Rehab Manager. “Every year, our families are so shocked when they receive such substantial gifts, because they weren’t expecting it. Many new families say that they will just quickly drop by the hospital for the party and end up getting a huge surprise when they arrive. It’s months of planning put into action. Mrs. Bradshaw’s kindness leaves a great impact on these families and staff alike. She is proof that Christmas angels are real.”
23 pediatric rehab therapists each shopped for more than 20 children. They picked gifts that were therapeutically relevant to each child’s particular care plan. Therapists purchased more than 400 gifts before Thanksgiving and received assistance from 18 SRHS volunteers in wrapping the gifts.
“So much of the equipment that these children need is not covered by insurance,” Stacie said. “I’m so glad to be part of a community that supports our babies and goes the extra mile to host this event.”
To donate to the Foundation’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Fund, please visit RegionalFoundation.com. For more information about Pediatric Rehabilitation at Spartanburg Medical Center, please call 864-560-6480.
About the Spartanburg Regional Foundation
The Spartanburg Regional Foundation is a charitable organization whose primary mission is to benefit the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System through direct support of community programs and services that share Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s mission of providing quality health care to our community.
About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.
This story was submitted by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.