"Forever Grateful": Joie's Story

"There’s nothing that we could’ve done to make Joie better when she was sick, but the experts at Valley Children’s, they did it for us. We will forever be indebted to them."

- Joseph, Joie's dad

After Joseph and Brittany noticed that their 2-year-old daughter, Joie, was having stomach pains, they took her to a local hospital. There, Joie was diagnosed with a bacterial infection from a specific strain of E. coli that put her at risk of developing a very rare and potentially fatal condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This secondary infection destroys red blood cells and can lead to kidney failure.

Soon after, Joie became even more ill from a fever and was transferred to Valley Children’s. When she arrived, she was immediately diagnosed with HUS and admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU. After several nights in the PICU, Joie was then transferred to a specialized inpatient unit that was able to provide care targeted to her condition. The toxins from the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria were rapidly destroying her red blood cells, causing acute kidney failure. Joie’s treatment team of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and child life specialists collaborated to provide her and her family with the best possible treatment and care.

Photo of Joie smiling and standing in front of cotton fieldJoie underwent numerous blood transfusions and oxygen treatments, and her team constantly monitored how her kidneys were functioning by running lab tests every six hours. Brittany says, “When we got to Valley Children’s, they knew what to do and how to deal with it. They walked us through every single step, letting us know what we needed to do next.” Thankfully, Joie made a miracle turnaround. Following her two-week-long hospitalization, Joie had to relearn how to walk, but was able to return home.

Today, Joie is back to being the girl her family knows and loves! Her parents are so grateful that she can receive her treatments close to home, and for the love that the doctors, nurses and staff have shown Joie during this time. Joie is now a happy and healthy 5-year-old and recently advanced to annual nephrology check-ups at Valley Children’s.

Joie’s experience at Valley Children’s made a lasting impact on the family, inspiring the Macedos to give back. With the help of her big brother and sister, Joie picks and sells (and snacks on!) cherries from their family farm at their roadside stand, donating the proceeds to Valley Children’s. Joseph says, “We will forever be indebted to Valley Children’s for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.” Their stand has received an outpouring of support from the community, and Joie’s family looks forward to next year’s cherry season.