It Takes a Lot of "Little Grapes" to Make The Big Grape!
Known for their courageous spirit, positive attitude and strong will to persevere, these young children are true examples of how your gifts from The Big Grape affect lives. Called "Little Grapes," children are selected each year to share their personal stories of determination. Because of you, these children, and countless others at Avera Children's Hospital, have directly benefited from your gifts and are living testaments of what you can do for the community by supporting The Big Grape. Check back later and get to know these brave little champion more!
Little Blessing: Brileigh
The tragedy of losing one twin at birth and the stress of having the other twin in the NICU is a lot for one young family to bear, but it happened to Jordan and Samantha Ziegler of Tripp, S.D.
Having gone into labor at just 24 weeks, Samantha began having contractions and was taken by ambulance to Avera McKennan. Despite diligent efforts to stop labor, Caleigh was stillborn. Soon, they learned that the health of both baby and mother would be compromised by keeping the unborn twin in the womb, so Brileigh was delivered weighing just 1 pound, 9 ounces.
A compassionate bereavement team at Avera was brought in to help set up services for Caleigh. Meanwhile, NICU physicians and nurses were busy keeping young Brileigh on the path to good health. While Brileigh proved to be a “rock star” in her progress, sometimes the loss and fear became overwhelming to Samantha, who recalls days when a nurse would just sit by her side, holding her hand. She appreciated how much the nurses truly cared for her family, and honored Caleigh’s memory whenever possible.
Throughout 139 days in the NICU, accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House at the Walsh Family Village allowed the Zieglers to stay with their baby as much as possible. Now over 2 years old, Brileigh has fully caught up and is developmentally on track.
A Tale of Two Cuties: Drake and Henley
When they learned they were having twins, Bryce and Kelsey Mitteis of Verdigre were elated. Too early into the pregnancy, however, Kelsey went into labor. After efforts to stop labor at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, S.D., she was transferred to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center where she would undergo an emergency C-section.
Drake and Henley were born at only 24 weeks old. Henley weighed just 1 pound while brother Drake was 1 pound, 6 ounces. The babies would spend the next 144 days in the newly constructed NICU. Part of this time, the twins benefited from the advanced technology of the Giraffe OmniBeds,which are incubator and radiant warmers that promote development along with mother/infant bonding. While the twins grew, parents Bryce and Kelsey utilized the convenient, on-campus lodgings of the Ronald McDonald House at the Walsh Family Village. Throughout their stay, both Bryce and Kelsey were amazed by the compassionate staff and continue to be grateful. Today, both Drake and Henley are living life to the fullest and have no developmental delays.
A Spring of Hope: Presley
When 2-year-old Presley started to run a temperature one weekend, her parents Nate and Ashlei Timmermans of Brandon, S.D., figured it was a standard bug. Yet when her sickness continued, they took her to the Emergency Department, where they were told Presley would need an emergency appendectomy.
That’s not all – she also faced a bowel obstruction, and needed a second surgery to repair it. All in all, it was a long ordeal for a little girl.
The family had a great experience with Avera starting with the fast actions at the Emergency Department. They were able to see a physician right away and found the entire team to be very helpful and considerate – especially the compassionate nurses. They also really enjoyed their experience with Child Life Specialist, Leah, who connected with the family on a personal level. During Presley’s lengthy hospital stay and recovery, Leah frequently took her on small walks and used play therapy to aid in healing. Because her stay was during Halloween, the pediatric department threw numerous Halloween activities. This was both great for Presley’s spirit and also gave the family a break. Today, young Presley is doing great and has no lasting set-backs from her surgeries. Thanks to the care at Avera Children’s Hospital, she’s back to doing everything little 3-year-olds typically do – playing with dolls and Barbies, and dressing up as a princess.
Growing and Glowing: Teghan
Could time at the hospital actually be fun? It is for Teghan Ordal, thanks to the Child Life Specialists, Leah and Twila. At the age of 1, Teghan started experiencing recurrent respiratory, sinus and ear infections. Since his body is unable to fight infections on its own, simple infections became more serious, resulting in his multiple surgeries by the age of 5.
At age 5, Teghan was diagnosed with hypogammaglobulinemia. He receives immunoglobulin infusions to make his immune system temporarily stronger. He will continue to need monthly infusions for the rest of his life. Child Life Specialists have been an integral part of Teghan’s adjustment to his illness. They provide him with activities, crafts and projects to do while he spends a day at the hospital every four weeks. In his words, “Without Leah, it would be pretty boring at infusions. She makes it fun.”
Teghan loves it if he gets to go to the Treasure Chest to pick out a special prize. It is an awesome day if he opens that Treasure Chest door and sees a Lego set.
Teghan, the son of Lance and Julie Ordal, is now an extremely active 10 year old, thanks to his immunotherapy. He loves being outside, playing baseball, swimming, and enjoying the lake. No one would know he has a medical condition by looking at him. He experiences problems about two to three times a year, when he requires a week or so of steroids and frequent nebulizer treatments, as compared to almost monthly in previous years.
The Big Grape continues the tradition of improving the lives of children and families through partnerships with friends and sponsors who share in our vision of outstanding health ministry. Thanks to your generous support, proceeds raised continue to be used to enhance pediatric care at Avera Children’s Hospital.
What Your Gifts Support:
- Pediatric Social Workers to offer convenient coordination during your stay
- Child Life Specialists help make a child’s hospital stay less intimidating through play and education
- Children's Champion recognition program supports positive reinforcement and necessary encouragement to aid in the healing and recovery process
- Advanced technology to provide world-class care
Creating a family-friendly facility for our patients and families is a priority. Funds from The Big Grape are also used to provide a colorful, kid-friendly and family-centered environment. There's a play room with lots of toys and games, and each child gets to visit our "Treasure Chest" to take home a special prize after their stay.
Children also have access to free family-friendly movies on demand and games. We have special programs like developmental play and pet therapy to comfort and engage children during their stay.
A Toast to You from Luxury Auto Mall!
From all of us at Luxury Auto Mall of Sioux Falls, we want to personally thank you for attending The Big Grape and opening your hearts to the children and families in our community. We are proud to stand next to The Big Grape in raising the reputation of Sioux Falls as one that cares for its people. Because of your support of our Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz dealership, we have been able to do this.
Mike Chaplin, General Manager