UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital Kid Captain 2017: Sam Spore


– We knew that he was a really neat kid and he needed medical
attention in the United States, and the only way that he would be able to receive that would be to be adopted. In 2011, we were in Uganda
adopting two of our children, and my husband was sitting
at a table with Sam and was just sort of meeting him. – They had to kind of wheel him around all around the orphanage in a wheelbarrow, and they were using a wheelbarrow I think for either another kid or
something else at the time, so I picked him up and I carried him about, oh, almost a quarter of a mile. – [Heidi] And his house
mother motioned for Chad to just sit him down on
top of the cement slab. – [Chad] It just really
was stark realization to me, just his life there. – It took us two years
of visiting with staff at the Centers for Disabilities
and Development here at the University of Iowa
about what it would be like to parent a child with spina bifida, what types of physical
challenges he would have, what types of educational
challenges he would have. Spina bifida is a birth
defect that happens within just the first
few weeks of pregnancy and the spine does not form
correctly on the child. After being home about 10 days, his right leg began to swell, and it was very warm to the touch. We knew something was wrong, so we took him to a local hospital, and they decided the best course of action would be for him to take a helicopter ride from Waterloo to the children’s hospital. When he got here, he had
all sorts of specialists surrounding him from infectious diseases because he had just come from east Africa and he had orthopedics involved and we found that he
had a femoral fracture. Sam has sensation and
feeling to his belly button and then below there, he lacks sensation and has neurogenic bowel
and neurogenic bladder, which means he didn’t have control of those functions of his body. Sam has to be catheterized
every four to five hours to make sure that we
don’t put too much stress on his augmented bladder, so
we’ve been working very hard at setting timers and for
him to be his own advocate. It’s really important to bring Sam to a kid-friendly hospital
because we really believe laughter is the best medicine. We cannot say enough good
things about the nurses. They have been a lifeline. – Are you ready for today, Mr. Prankster? – [Heidi] On days when we
really thought we couldn’t do another day, they have
come in with Nerf guns, and they’ve come in with Silly String, and they’ve given us a reason to laugh. – To Sam’s care team, I
would say thank you very much for all the times and energy
that you’ve put into Sam’s care from the moment that he’s arrived here in the US until today. You have been instrumental
in his adaptation to life and to his future.

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