Proud Patient Champion for the Meaningful Miles Challenge!
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Hometown: Hillard, Ohio
Age: 16 years old
Diagnosis: Severe Persistent Asthma, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Dysphagia
Jenna was born at 29 weeks and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for approximately three months with multiple severe health concerns. She faced many ups and downs with long term respiratory and trachea issues that evolved into chronic severe asthma.
Jenna has been a patient of the Chronic Asthma and Allergy Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital since she was an infant. She has had numerous visits to the Emergency Department, surgical procedures and hospital stays, including five days in the Intensive Care Unit. Jenna’s mother, Michelle, says she remembers crying as Jenna would be going into surgery, and Jenna would be smiling, waving to her mom, without a worry in the world. That is just who Jenna is. A carefree, loving, happy girl.
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and can significantly impact quality of life with missed school days, difficulty with physical activity, and exacerbations resulting in Emergency Department visits and/or hospitalization. At Nationwide Children's Hospital, outpatient care is delivered by asthma specialists in both the Section of Allergy/Immunology as well as Pulmonary Medicine. Both areas offer teams of physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses to provide state of the art asthma care through diagnostic testing, up to date treatment strategies, and comprehensive education for patients and families.
Jenna’s parents, Michelle and Joe, say, “We are so unbelievably thankful as Jenna's parents to have been surrounded by such amazing doctors, nurses, social workers and programs offered by Nationwide Children's Hospital, both at the main campus, the NICU and the clinics. Jenna's main goal is to be a normal kid and for the most part, she has been able to accomplish this, maybe not to the extent she wishes, but without this support her story could be drastically different.”
Jenna’s asthma doesn’t stop her from doing the things she loves. She stays active by participating in sports and plays soccer, basketball and runs track (hurdles) for her high school. Her favorite foods are ice cream, spaghetti and Flaming Hot Cheetos! She would love to study criminal justice and has expressed interest in becoming a police officer. Jenna loves animals and one of her favorite places to visit is the Columbus Zoo. She has two dogs that her family rescued, Gideon and Sam, who absolutely love her too!
Jenna enjoys meeting new people and excels in building relationships. As you participate in the Meaningful Miles Challenge this year, remember the obstacles that Jenna has had to overcome as motivation to never give up!
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