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A Company Affected: Aerotek Employees Give Back to Children's

Each year, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center touches the lives of thousands of children and their families throughout Omaha and the region. Aerotek, a large recruitment and staffing agency, has many employees whose families have experienced first-hand the extraordinary care provided by Children’s.

The experiences of these grateful Aerotek employees inspired the agency to give back to Children’s, and thus the Annual Charity Golf Event benefiting Children’s Hospital & Medical Center was born.

“Children’s has impacted several Aerotek families, so we wanted to find a way to give back,” says Ryan Gillis, account executive at Aerotek and architect of the event since its inception in 2013. “It has become an event that Aerotek clients and employees, and their families and friends, look forward to.”

The Annual Charity Golf Event is held each May at Tiburon Golf Course in Omaha. Aerotek raised more than $50,000 through the event in its first three years.

For Gillis and other Aerotek employees, it is special to see how Children’s has put the funds raised from the golf event to good use.

“An Aerotek employee’s daughter was admitted to the Criss Heart Center for heart issues and was placed in the patient room that was sponsored by the funds from last year’s golf event,” Gillis says. “It was great to see the impact from the event come full-circle.”

One Family's Story - The Desai Family

Children with OI are each unique, special, fragile, and beautiful, just like a snowflake. "Snowflake" has become a term of endearment that many OI parents use for their children. Below is Ethan's story, as told by his parents, Neel Desai, a family physician, and Debbie Desai. Both are strong advocates within the OI community for advancing better education about the treatments and care available for children affected by OI in the 21st century.

"Debbie and I first found out about Ethan's condition when we went for a routine 20-week ultrasound while Debbie was pregnant with Ethan.The doctors said he had a severely curved and shortened left femur, indicative of a fatal skeletal dysplasia disorder. We were devastated and lost and felt hopeless and did not know where to turn for answers. We had an amniocentesis and genetic testing done that day, because we needed to know what we were dealing with and what to expect. His tests finally came back positive for osteogenesis imperfecta seen in types III and IV individuals. The gloom and doom prognosis didn't stop, however.
 
We were told that due to this condition, his rib cage would fail to expand, and he would essentially suffocate due to lack of room in rib cage for his lungs. If he did live, he would have a host of complications including hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), a tracheotomy (hole in the throat to help breathe) and G-tube (stomach feeding tube). He would be confined to a power wheelchair and never walk or run. Doctors said he would have a life of chronic pain and repeated fractures. 
 
There is one thing that the doctors did not take into account in telling us what type of life our son would have. That would be what Ethan would have to say about it and what his specialists could do. From an early age we consulted the folks at Children's Hospital & Medical Center's OI clinic. Through their advice and support and guidance, we were able to start Ethan on a life-changing, bone-strengthening medication in Pamidronate. We also were able to have him get telescoping F-D rods in all his long leg bones. These treatments have allowed "E" (as we affectionately call him) to only fracture about once a year, and meet all developmental milestones on time. He never developed any of those complications the doctors said he would have.
 
Ethan will turn 5 years old in April. He runs, climbs, jumps, and is a very active, precocious, compassionate boy who can keep up with many of his peers not affected with OI. He loves dinosaurs, sharks, Super Heroes, Legos, Star Wars Angry Birds, swimming, and riding his bike. He will be going out for T-ball this spring with his friends."
 
He proved all those doctors wrong and continues to do so on a daily basis. And it is all because of hard work, a tenacious resolve, and the amazing folks at Children's in Omaha who just gave him a chance and believed in him.
 
Dr. Desai's final thought on this experience. "I always say, don't ever tell an OI kid they can't do something because they will be determined to prove you wrong and make you look foolish in the process.I have seen it in my own son. I have seen it in all his OI buddies from Children's OI clinic. We can learn valuable lessons from these beautiful kids. It's about achieving one's highest potential given the right tools and a chance. Believe it--and it will happen!"

Please consider joining our effort to aid Children's OI Clinic in helping our Snowflakes. Together, we will accomplish wonders.