UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital 2018 Kid Captain: Christopher Turnis


– His prognosis was not good. They did not expect him to live more than an hour or two after birth, and if he did, he would
have severe health problems. (mellow guitar strumming) We went to our local doctor for an ultrasound and about five minutes into the ultrasound, everyone
got really quiet in the room. We met with our doctor there, and they said there was something seriously wrong with our baby. His bladder was not emptying so we were sent down here the next day. He was born, they
immediately lifted him up, showed him to me, and whisked him away. We walked into the room
and talked to the doctors, and I said, “How’s he doing?” You know those kinds of questions that every parent has
asked, and they said, “Right now, we’re taking
it a minute at a time.” So we went from taking
it a minute at a time, to a day at a time, to a week at a time, until we finally were able to
transfer him back to Dubuque. Because of the birth
defect he was born with, it did severe damage
to both of his kidneys. And what we didn’t expect
was a secondary diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis. It’s a rare GI disease, and when he eats foods, his body will attack it like a poison. So then his body builds
up these eosinophils, and it causes extreme nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea to the point where he needs to resort to
only IV nutrition sometimes. He has high output renal failure. While we tried to figure everything out and he got all of his
nutrition from the formula that we gave him or through IV nutrition. – So this one, this one
goes into my stomach. Now this one goes into my intestine. This one we put everything through when I’m not tolerating anything, when I’m throwing up or anything, when I have really bad stomach
aches, and that type stuff. – [Kristina] Safe foods for
him are rice, potato, egg, strawberry, blueberries, and beef. We can use those few ingredients, and they are considered
social foods for him so he has something to
sit down and eat with when everyone else around him is eating. In 2010, we could tell
that Christopher’s health was suddenly declining again. We had had the conversation that now is the time that we probably need to start looking at a kidney transplant. He was walking the line of whether he needed dialysis or not. (hopeful music) It was exactly a week later
from his sixth birthday where he blew out his candles and said, “I wish for a new kidney.” – [Christopher] There was this doctor that kinda helped me through it. Didn’t put the mask on
that you go to sleep with until I was ready. So we sat there on the bed
for probably an hour or so and he’s just telling me, “I’m not going to put this mask on you unless you’re comfortable.” And so it’s kinda how
the great relationships you bond with the staff here. – [Kristina] So Christopher
sees eight specialists here. We’re dealing with everything as a whole, and to have such world-class doctors here, and nurses and staff,
it’s such a comfort to us. He wouldn’t be here today without all of those people
working together as one. Beads for Bravery is an amazing program. It essentially represents
the child’s medical journey. Christopher has over 46 feet of beads, and it’s a tangible thing
that makes people aware of, “Wow, look at everything
that he’s gone through.” And he’s very proud of it. – So there’s many various beads. Hang on, these metal blue ones are every time I’ve gotten anesthesia. And these kinda
rainbow-colored spiky ones, these are like injections or shots. What these stand for is
what I’ve gone through, what I’ve done, kinda an
overview of my life basically. – [Kristina] He’s taught us strength and courage and perseverance. He just keeps going. He just does what needs to be done. – [Christopher] My care
team, you mean a lot to me. You’ve gotten me through tough times. You saved my life when I was born. – [Kristina] This hospital
means hope to our family and to all the families who walk in it. (happy music)

1 thought on “UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital 2018 Kid Captain: Christopher Turnis

  1. My prayers are with you Christopher and your family. You are a very handsome boy. Keep smiling that beautiful smile 👍

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