Friday, December 23, 2011


Helen DeVos Children's Hospital (HDVCH) is really quite amazing.

It isn't the fact that the hospital is one of the leading pediatric centers in the nation that makes this place amazing, but it certainly helps.

It's oval-shaped, all-glass-exterior, 14 story building in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids Michigan is a breathtaking piece of architectural genius, but that isn't what makes this place amazing either.

It isn't the fact that the hospital's hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant program received the American Society of Clinical Oncology Award for the program's work to improve cancer care through clinical research (one of eight hospitals in the U.S. to receive this recognition), but that is also very impressive too.

Above all else, it is the people here that make this hospital what it is. We have met dozens of consummate professionals, all of whom walk around with a sense of mission- a sense of a higher purpose. There is a buzz in the air, and people are excited to watch cutting edge pediatric medicine in action. The hospital is yet to turn a year old, and it is impossible not to feel like a pioneer at this place because everyone around you is so eager to perform the mission.

Take, for example, one of our oncology nurses. She has been an amazing blend of professionalism and empathy through many of our nights here at the hospital. Tonight she shared a powerful story with us: her own cancer survival story. What an amazing gift to this hospital, to have an oncology nurse who is ironically a cancer survivor herself. She shared her story, and could relate to what our Mallory must be going through. She is quite possibly the one person that can most effectively empathize with what Ashley and I are feeling, and the ride that Mallory is taking. This means the world to us, knowing that our care providers can directly relate to our situation from every angle.

There are amazing people on every level. The cleaning staff, the doctors, the security guards, the nurses, the people in the gift shop and cafeterias- all amazing. I would like to shake the HR director's hand, they have managed to put aces in all the right places.

Amazing goes all the way to the top. On Wednesday night, we narrowly missed meeting the hospital's namesake, Helen DeVos herself (we were getting admitted to the hospital at that time, and the scheduling just wasn't there).

I applaud philanthropic efforts of all sizes, but Helen DeVos and her family given gigantic support to this region and this hospital. Helen DeVos didn't just donate a pile of money just to get her name in 20 foot tall illuminated letters overlooking Grand Rapids. She could have accomplished that using a much cheaper route.

She did it because she is amazing. She cares about these kids, and about the mission. She cares so much that she threw a private Christmas party for the kids in the hospital. She handed out *very* nice gift bags to each kid, laughed and cried with the families, read some stories and made sure everyone was having the best Christmas possible.

West Michigan is blessed to have such a fine establishment. I hope none of you ever need to go to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, but if you do, you will agree with me:

This place is amazing.


  1. What an amazing mother you are. Your little angel is fighting very hard and we are all praying for her everyday! Enjoy your Christmas with your family!

  2. WOW just wow...I agree Helen Devos hospital is the place to be if u r fighting this or any other kind of childhood cancer. Praying for y all the time Mallory...Nana loves u very much!!!

  3. Thank God you live where you can access such wonderful care for Mallory-I am praying for her and following her updates daily. Merry Christmas!

  4. How amazing<3 I am catching up on your blog, but wanted to give my support to you. My son was born September 23, 2010 and we live just about 1.5hrs from Grand Rapids. I am thinking and praying for you and your sweet baby girl.