Meet the Children!


Managing leukemia. The difference a supportive environment makes.

Kelly Richards had just flown a combat mission over Afghanistan when he got a call from his wife, telling him their daughter, Rylie, had leukemia. As drastic as the news was, the family felt comforted to know that Children’s National would be able to treat the illness and help make sure Rylie could continue doing the things that kids need to do.

Children’s National provides psychosocial services such child life specialists, psychologists, music and art therapists, and teachers – all funded through philanthropy. “They always say that the job of a child is to play, and at Children’s National, she can still fulfill that need,” said Rylie’s mom, Tracie.

Dr. Jeffrey Dome, Chief of Hematology and Oncology, said, “We’ve learned that successful cancer treatment isn’t just about delivering the medications. It’s about making the environment a friendly place where people can feel safe and comfortable during the course of their treatment.”

Added Amanda Thompson, medical director of Patient Support Services, “We have to rely on the support of our donors to be able to keep doing what we’re doing and to be able to support our patients and families. We want our patients not just to survive cancer, but to thrive in spite of it.”




Overcoming Cerebral Palsy. Innovative treatment today, potentially a cure tomorrow.

At first, nothing seemed wrong with their twins, Tess and Alexander. But by the time they were a year old, it was apparent to Danica and George Theodorakos that something was wrong. The diagnosis: cerebral palsy. Determined to do whatever it took, they were relieved to find Children’s National. “We felt we were in really good hands,” said George.

The twins had trouble controlling their limbs due to stiffness. Treatment included injections of Botox – a treatment that was a surprise to Danica but one that has worked well. “The long-term effects of this have been amazing,” she said. “We’re so glad we’ve had the chance to try this.” George said he’s encouraged that his children are getting cutting-edge care:

“Every time we go into Children’s National for a routine checkup, we end up with whole new treatments, new devices to use, that really give me the reassurance that we’re on top of it, we’re attacking it, and making as much progress as we possibly can.

Beyond that is an appreciation for the care they receive. “Children’s is different because they care about the children,” Alexander said. “They’re not just about treating them.  They’re about taking their mind off it and making them feel happy, which is something very hard to do when you’re sick.” The Theodorakos family is optimistic about their own future and the future for others with cerebral palsy. “I think eventually we’ll just keep getting better,” Tess said. “No one will notice it anymore.”

Added Alexander: “I have faith that if someone’s going to find the cure or find where the cure is, it’s going to be Children’s.”



New heart for newborn. Parents call transplant a medical miracle.

An ultrasound 20 weeks into Ivy Duke’s pregnancy showed a problem in her baby’s development. But her treating physician wasn’t sure what the issue was. A neighbor suggested they talk to experts at Children’s National.

 The Dukes learned that their baby's heart was underdeveloped and would require several surgeries after birth. But they were gratified to learn that their child would be treated by one of the world’s foremost surgeons in the field.

 When their baby, Ian, was delivered, he was immediately transported to Children's National for the first of two surgeries needed to restructure his heart. Such early interventions can provide children such as Ian long lives that they otherwise might not have.

 “The care and love that Ian and our family have experienced is unbelievable,” Ivy said. “Each nurse, technician, doctor, and administrator whom we dealt with has truly cared about our son's health and gone that extra mile to make sure that the best prognosis was in reach.”

 With the continuing care of the cardiology team, Ian's prognosis is great.

 Said Ivy: “Miracles are possible and happen every day through the life-saving medical care provided by Children's National.”



Jackson was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at two years old. Now, he is healthy and thriving thanks to the experts at Children's National.


Cancer had act one. Isabel received the encore. Watch Isabel's story below:


A rebuilt heart. The one baby gift he'll never outgrow.


Against all odds, Ryan was born with ectopia cordis, where his heart develop outside of his chest. Watch his amazing story:


Traumatic brain injury. Not the opponent Connor was expecting... Watch his story below:

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