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Hi, Monthly Giving Partners! I’m Athena. I’m
almost 16 years old, and I want to share my story of how Lucile Packard
Children’s Hospital Stanford—and you—saved my

I was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called restrictive
cardiomyopathy, where the heart becomes stiff and is unable to function properly. Dr. Beth
Kaufman and her team kindly walked my family through the diagnosis and treatment.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure yet for this disease, except for a
transplant. This came as a total shock, but the staff guided us through as I
waited for a new heart.

One night in May 2017, when I was in seventh
grade, I woke up crying. My parents rushed in to find me unable to talk or move my limbs.
Our local hospital diagnosed it as a stroke, but they had never dealt with a pediatric
stroke before. My dad contacted Packard Children’s. They sent an ambulance to
pick us up and immediately took me into surgery to remove a clot. I was discharged five
days later and started months of rehab at another hospital.

Six months
later, my condition worsened, and I was back at Packard Children’s. A month later
in December, I got an early Christmas gift: a healthy heart that fit me just

Today, I’m home and a sophomore in high school. I still
receive care at Packard Children’s, but I spend my free time dancing,
volunteering with children with autism, tutoring at the local library, and teaching

Being a cardiology kid in the hospital inspired me to want a
career as a pediatric cardiologist. Being a cardiology kid at Packard Children’s
has inspired me to make Stanford my first choice for school.

My story
isn’t only mine. It’s yours, too. You’ve been there, behind
the scenes. I hope you know that I’m here—alive—because of
your generosity and commitment to the hospital. From the bottom of my (adopted) heart and
the hearts of hundreds of families like mine: thank you.