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PATIENT STORIES

Get to know some of our patient artists here. If you are a part of our medical community and would like to become a future artist for Cards for Kids, please submit your art and story. Several cards will be selected for our website each year.


Watch our latest interview with Kris Guiterrez on NBCDFW.



Jennie Y. - Artist

Hello, my name is Jennie Y.

I was born with Hemoglobin H disease, which means that I have fewer red blood cells, which causes me to feel more tired easily. To treat it, I have to get blood transfusions often. Before I had to get transfusions every 3-4 weeks, but ever since I had my spleen taken out, I’ve only had to get transfusions every 4-8 weeks depending on my Hemoglobin level. I had to have my spleen taken out in 2007 because it was too big for my stomach, and my doctor said that if I had it out, it could also prolong my need for transfusions, and it did.

After I had my spleen taken out, a few months after that I developed a blood clot in my leg. I remember the day that I got it because I woke up, and my leg was sore and swollen, but I didn’t think anything of it and went to school that day. It got worse, and I went to the school nurse, and she called my mom, and I was on the way to the ER. After several test scans and sonograms, the doctor told me that it was a blood clot, and that I had to be admitted to the ICU. I was scared, because I didn’t really know what a blood clot was, and I had never been admitted to the hospital before. I only had to have blood transfusions every now and then, and those only took about 4 hours, and then I got to go home.

Ever since then I’ve had blood clots in both legs, arms, and even in my lung, which was one of the worst pains I’ve ever experienced. Whenever I have an artificial clot anywhere in my body, I have to be admitted to the ICU and be treated. I’m usually in the hospital for a month or longer for the clot to be treated. I also had surgery to have a filter put in to prevent a possible clot in my legs from going to my heart. Having a clot is usually why I am admitted into the hospital-that and migraines.

I started having migraines around 2008 or 2009. Having a migraine is also one of the most painful things I’ve endured. Light, noise, and movement make it much worse. And whenever I have one that’s really bad, I need to go to the ER and have pain medication through an IV just to calm the throbbing, and pulsing, and sharp pain I feel going to my head. And sometimes I need to be admitted for weeks to treat it until it eventually goes away.

As you can tell, I have a long and complicated medical history and this is only half of it. Whenever I’m in the hospital, and I’m able to paint and draw and do art work, it really makes me HAPPY. I like seeing my paintings displayed around the hospital and hearing the nurses and Child Life staff, tell me that they overhear people in the hospital liking my paintings. When I hear them tell me that, I feel a sense of pride in my work and in myself.

Abigail M. - Artist

Hello, my name is Abigail M.

I am a 16 year old, fighting Mitochondrial disease, and I spend a lot of time at Cook Children’s receiving care. Thanks to the CARPE’ program, I have the chance to use creativity to make my time at Cook Children’s a positive experience and more than just a medical destination.

Kenzi J. - Artist

Hello, my name is Kenzi J.

By the grace of God and the stellar medical team at Cook Children’s, Kenzi keeps celebrating birthdays! She was born with an extremely rare kidney disease which most infants do not survive, autism, degenerative bones, weak muscles, and near blindness. A kidney transplant would buy her time, if she could make it to 15 lbs. After multiple surgeries, daily dialysis and 183 nights at Cook Children’s, she received her daddy’s kidney at 15 months of age. For the next nine years, Kenzi received constant medical care, many hospital stays, additional surgeries, 16 medications, weekly labs, specialized education, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy at Cook’s Child Study Center. She began to lead a normal life.

After contracting a life-threatening bacterium, Kenzi was forced to stop her anti-rejection medications and lose her kidney. Dialysis was resumed, and many set-backs ensued. A year later, she was blessed with another transplant, donated by her Godmother. Although there were many complications, her 2nd transplant eventually thrived, Kenzi began to blossom again: enjoying dance, swimming, and most of all Disney. She will maintain her daily medications, frequent labs, and constant medical care for her entire life.

Kenzi is proud to have graduated from Hill School of Fort Worth and continues to help others, through her volunteer efforts, brilliant smile, and her zest for life! She calls her card “My Cooks” as it truly is her second home.

Preston Graham - Photographer

Hello, my name is Preston.

Relationship is defined as: “The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” These connections are a necessity in everyday life, to survive, to flourish, and to move forward. Some relationships are more important than others; however there are none as critical as the relationship between a hospital and a family, but also an establishment.

In 1990, Tammy was 28 and pregnant with her first child; the doctors knew that her son would have complications, mainly what was called an Omphalocele. This condition is characterized by the abdominal wall not fully closing, leaving intestines exposed. Tammy, the doctors, and her family knew the condition could be fatal if not treated properly, and for a first time mother no amount of comfort was enough. On September 18, 1990, Preston Scott Graham finally arrived by a Caesarean section. A small baby boy with so many complications already was rushed into surgery only two hours after he was born. Preston’s life rested in the hands of the surgeons of Cook Children’s hospital. A distraught family was comforted by doctors and nurses while having only their word, hope, and trust. Some hours later the surgery was pronounced a success.

Perhaps the most complicated part was over, but now came the waiting. Infection and overall health were the main concerns of Cook’s staff, so they took great care and watched over Preston as if he were their own. Every day and every night around the clock care was assigned to the healing baby and put Tammy at much more ease than expected. After three weeks Preston could finally be discharged to go home! The relationship with Cook Children’s hospital however, did not end there. Throughout many years Preston continued to have surgeries on his eyes, teeth, back correction and genetic testing which showed that he also had Autism.

Even though there have been many setbacks, Preston still pushes through as if they don’t exist. He has recently developed glaucoma, but this has not stopped him at all. Today, the 23 year old has a job, attends college, and loves photography. Most, if not all, the credit for Preston’s life is owed to the wonderful staff at cook Children’s hospital who helped Tammy and her family gain the knowledge and help that they needed. Tammy and Preston still make trips to Cook children’s; however it is now on a more pleasant note. The duo takes pictures for Cook Children’s Cards for Kids and helps with the charity that is so close to their hearts.

Tony M. - Artist

Hello, my name is Tony M.

I am a 20 year old guy who has Cystic Fibrosis. I love to paint, draw, decorate cakes, sing, dance, and love to be surrounded by people who love life. My dream is to be famous in art and help people in need. I started painting in Cook's room 5410 and haven't stopped. I hope one day my art can take me somewhere in life.