Thursday, August 9, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 8

"Because of Dr. Campbell, Owen is alive and thriving and able to experience so much in life! Thank you Dr. C for giving our Owen a chance! We will miss you greatly! You have truly touched so many lives!"
-Owen Theriot 

"It has taken me all day to put my thoughts onto paper. In 2002, Sarah’s medical file was taken to San Antonio to be looked at by Dr. Campbell. We were then sent to Pittsburgh for Sarah to be evaluated by Dr. Moreland. Sarah was accepted into the VEPTR program and our journey started. 

My daughter was not supposed to live past 2. She will be 18 in September. How do you put into words how grateful you are to the man that invented a device and procedures that saved your daughter's life? It is quite impossible to tell him just how much he meant to our family. The kindness, compassion, and the love he showed every time we saw him was outstanding! To think that he is gone just makes my heart so sad. He gave my family hope and a quality of life she never would of had. 

May God bless him and his family in their time of need. Praying for peace and comfort for his family. RIP Dr. Robert Campbell and thank you for all you have done for my daughter."
-Kimberly Amodei

"This is the story of my daughter Brianna Jones. She was born with a rare genetic disorder called Escobar syndrome. This syndrome mostly consist of muscular skeletal deformities, including deformities of the spine. Brianna was born with four of her thoracic vertebrae fused at birth, causing severe curvature of her spine and compression of her lungs due to the ribs not being able to expand on the affected side. When she was born, we were in the hospital for six months at Texas children’s and she had a 35° curve to her spine... by the time she was two years old her spine was 98°. 

The orthopedic doctor in Houston told me she would never walk and referred us to Dr. Campbell. Brianna also suffered from a diaphragmatic hernia at birth and has been ventilator dependent since birth. We came for our three day evaluation in August or September 2001 when she was just two years old as part of the FDA case study.  We were number 137. Dr. Campbell told me that he would take her downstairs and take her off her ventilator and if she had any breathing effort on her own he could help her. The results were that she did have effort on her own and he said he could help her. 

So it was under the care of Dr. Campbell and Dr. Smith that my daughter underwent her first titanium rib implant surgery... she continued surgeries every six months from the age of two to the age of 14 with only one wound infection and one device that was removed. She is now 19 years old almost and although still vent dependent her settings have been dramatically changed to the point that she can come off her ventilator for a couple hours twice a day. She still has two devices but her spine had finished growing.

Before the rib implants, she was getting chronic pneumonia from compression of the lungs by the rib cage. I truly believe in my heart that my daughter would not be where she is today and may not even be living had it not been for the dedication, love, and intelligence of Dr. Campbell.  

He wasn’t just a doctor.  He cared. He cared about every single child that he helped. I will forever be grateful to him and that he allow the Lord to work through his hands to save so many children’s lives. He will be greatly missed, but not forgotten."

-April Robertson

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Campbell's Kids

If there was any doubt about the love and compassion Dr. Campbell had for his patients, please read what "Campbell's Kids" had to say about their surgeon.

"I can fix a broken bone, but I can't fix a broken soul. Let him do what he wants."
-Xavier, age 6

"Dear Dr. Campbell, I liked when you took care of me when you came in my room. I liked you were my surgeon for years and years. I liked you were my doctor until you went to heaven to do surgery."
-Roman, age 7

"Dear Dr. Campbell, I can't believe I will never see you again! I am very sad! I miss you so much! You are a great dr.! Thank you for always "having my back" and taking such good care of me! You will always be in my heart forever!
-Luca, age 7

"I was very sad that Dr. Campbell has passed away. He was the best doctor in the universe. Best memory of him is all of them and the fact that he saved my life and millions of other kids and let us be who we are today is just amazing! When I heard he passed away it was like a nightmare. My heart just dropped. Every da yI think about it and I hope i twas just a dream, but I know it's not. I loved him."
-Josie, age 9

"Dr. Campbell was nice because he took care of kid and he loves kids. He was good with patients. Our familiy loves him so much because he fixed my ribs. I'm going to miss when he would take care of me when I'm asleep during surgery. I miss him already."
-Abby, age 7

"Doctor Campbell is so so special. He saved MILLIONS of children’s lives! Even if he didn’t do all the surgeries, he was the person who invented VEPTRs, and trained all the docs all around the world, so that it is closer and easier for kids that live far away from CHOP to get surgery . He might not have done everyone’s surgeries, but he did do A LOT! He did mine! Without Doctor Campbell, I probably wouldn’t be alive, or I would be in pain or suffering right now.

Also…He wasn’t just a great surgeon. He was really kind. He took time to show me pictures of his family. I wasn’t really afraid of the surgery itself. I wasn’t worried that Dr. Campbell would do a bad job. I was nervous to get the mask, and scared to go into the OR. Like I said I wasn’t worried about the surgery itself, or that Dr. Campbell would do a terrible job. He was excellent at doing the surgery and keeping me safe in the OR. He knew what should be done for me to grow and be healthy. He knew when to stop doing something and keep doing something. 

You're Amazing Dr. Campbell, We’ll miss you A LOT!!
With lots of love.
Lilly, age 12

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 7

“To say Dr. Campbell was a hero is an understatement. We should all be as lucky to leave behind a legacy such as his. The number of lives he saved as both a surgeon and an inventor (with Dr. Smith) of the VEPTR device truly made him an angel among us. Even though he was world renowned, he was the most humble man who just wanted to help kids. 

I will forever be grateful for him. I’ve told him so many times that saying thank you will never ever be enough. He gave me the most amazing gift ever:  he gave hope for Madden when other doctors had given up. He saved Madden’s life. He always managed to see the potential in all of his veptr kids, never focusing on the struggles or medical equipment they may have. He continued to remind me that Madden’s trach/vent are just a bridge to a long healthy life. He always managed to relate to these kids, like somehow he knew deep inside what they were feeling. 

One of his best sayings was always, “I can fix a broken rod, I can’t fix a broken spirit”. With that motto that is how we figured out our life with all of Madden’s “accessories” and if something breaks, falls out or someone trips over his stuff, as long as he’s playing and living life we will fix it. 

We will forever miss this amazing man. I can’t even begin to describe the heartache in losing him. I just hope he knew how loved he was and how thankful I am for him saving Madden. 
-Mandy Sheridan

"We had found out about Maciah in utero. So now what?

Fast forward a few months when the Radiologist couldn't read the ultrasound. Time to find a new Dr. And so began our search because at 5 months we still didn't know what "it" was. So we got connected with the CS Facebook page then onto the VEPTR page. And as a newbie we soon realized that CHOP & Dr. Campbell kept being talked about. And it was said he had at least a 6 month waiting list. So that afternoon I got on the CHOP website & filled out our info not expecting a quick response. Well we heard the very next day!

Within the week, we met Dr. Campbell. Her anomalies are T2-L2. When we met him, she was in the 40's.  When she finally got her VEPTR at 13 months, she was pushing 90 degrees (in 3 short months she had a 50 degree increase).  With a chest wall half the size as it should be (hers was a 7 and it should be a 14) so all the room counts. For the 1st time she could sit up on her own!

We didn't get many pre-op pics with Dr Campbell because the giggle juice was usually already working. His quiet authority gave us peace that she would be fine. Again we fast forward to expansion #13, when we were reminded of how great this device truely works. He came into the  surgical waiting room in quiet authority and told us that her CS had progressed significantly again.  She has also outgrown her hooks & screws, so this one will be "a big one" for the "little peanut."

When we heard of his passing, we were heartbroken & shocked  just as everyone else is. Maciah fell in love with Mrs Campbell & Abby @ the reunions when they took time to talk to us all. We are forever thankful that Dr. Campbell gave us many firsts with Maciah that without him would never have happened! And so we ask, "So Now What"?
-Laura Moore

"When Fionah was a little over 2, we were referred to a Scoliosis specialist who didn’t even give us the time of day. Fionah was having pain, low endurance, and decreased appetite.  The doctor didn’t even view her medical records before we came. He told us he wouldn’t operate on a child her age, and we were to get a CT scan and come back in 6 months. I called the hospital and requested another surgeon see her. He immediately said Fionah needs to see Bob Campbell because she was a VEPTR candidate.

We met with Dr. Campbell and he told us she absolutely needed VEPTR rods and within two months she was in surgery. I was a little nervous about the day he had given us: 9/11/2012. I asked him if it was a good day for surgery. He completely changed my perspective and told me “Something good needs to happen on that day.” I hadn’t thought of a major surgery as being something good because at that moment I was completely overwhelmed but he changed that. He reminded me that it was a start to a long life. He always told me that this journey “Is a marathon and not a race.”

Dr. C. encouraged me to allow Fionah to be a typical kid because we were doing this to give her a childhood. Dr.Campbell paved the way for how we walked this journey with courage and a positive outlook. He gave us hope for Fionah’s future and for that I am eternally grateful. Fionah was his Wonder Woman. Even though we eventually transferred care, Dr. Campbell was always and will always be our hero.
-Shawna Ogle

Monday, August 6, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 6

“There are no words to express how deeply shocked and saddened we all are after learning of the passing of our beloved, Dr. Campbell.  This is an enormous loss for his family and for all of us as well.  Our hearts have been broken in the most painful way.

We cannot feel life's losses without first feeling the blessings of its fullness. Dr. Campbell has blessed thousands of lives, and we will all be eternally grateful to him.  Each life is touched by others.  With Dr. Campbell, the touch was compassionate and loving, and will linger forever.  Our family has umpteen blessings to be thankful for, and Dr. Campbell tops that list.  He may have claimed to be "nothing special", but to us, and thousands of grateful others, he was nothing less than an angel on earth - our hero and savior and lightyears beyond any kind of "fantastic" word we can think of.    

We were introduced to Dr. Campbell when our son, Luca, was 11 months old.  The moment he walked into the room, we knew our son was going to be in great hands!  You could just feel his compassion and see the love he has for all of his patients!  Dr. Campbell inserted our son's VEPTR at 17 months old, and he has performed every single one of Luca's surgeries since then.  Luca is now 7 yrs. old.  We always get anxious and very nervous leading up to surgery day, but that anxiety would disappear the minute Dr. Campbell walked in.  Even as we sat, each and every time, waiting in surgery reception......the very minute we would see Dr. Campbell walk through those doors, smile and walk towards us, a sense of calmness would come over us and we knew everything was going to be ok.  He would sit down, discuss Luca's surgery, and then we would just talk for a while.  We loved those talks and he loved showing us pictures of his beautiful family.  To know we will never never see him walk through those surgery doors again, never see his smile, hear his jokes, sit and talk.....leaves a void in our hearts that can never be filled.   Dr. Campbell is a God-given gift to our lives.  He gave us hope, he gave our precious little boy a future!  

May Dr. Campbell's incredible lifelong devotion to children's healthcare, his extraordinary achievements and contributions, and his commitment to saving children's lives be a reminder to us all that one person CAN make a difference.  Dr. Campbell definitely qualifies for Sainthood.

May his beautiful, selfless and humble soul rest in peace, and may God watch over and protect his beautiful family.  We hold Dr. Campbell's family safe in our hearts at this time of incredible sadness.  

Dr. Campbell - we are forever grateful!  We miss you dearly and you will always hold a very special place in our hearts!”

- The Argento Family

“Our son Roman was born with an extremely rare tumor called a mesenchymal Hamatomar of the left chest wall. This tumor was so large at birth that it destroyed five ribs and pushed his spine over, resulting in servere scoliosis.  We prepared for Roman’s birth knowing this, but no one knew what to do. 

When Roman was born, they removed the tumor along with five ribs.  We were at a children’s hospital in New York City. We were with the best surgeons. But they had no idea what to do with this 2 week old child. Roman was on cpap,bipap, and then nasal cannula. We were told when he was a month old to go to a rehab facility to transition home. We were new scared parents and did what they told us. While at the rehab my son got pneumonia and his lungs collapsed. We were losing him. We transferred him back to New York only to be sedated and put on a vent. His little lungs just could not work without help and a chest wall. Roman was trached and needed a G-tube. At this point I had not heard my son cry or coo in 2 months. We had no answers or anyone to help us. He needed intervention. 

They asked the head ortho at the hospital and he had no answers.Every night myself and my husband researched his tumor for answers or solutions. All the children we found online had died at birth. The doctors told us they heard about this tumor but had never seen one. We were desperate. 

While on the computer my husband stumbled across Dr. Campbell in Texas. WE WERE GOING TO TEXAS! The next day we were talking to his nurse who was a traveling nurse that happened to be from texas. We asked her if she knew about the VEPTRS And Dr. Campbell. God must have been with us. She said yes I used to work with the VEPTR kids in Texas. I know Dr. Campbell. She says wait a minute. She makes a phone call and comes back with a paper and address to CHOP.  Dr. Campbell is now working there with the VEPTR kids. Her friend who also was a traveling nurse was a nurse practicer in the (pcu) progressive care unit at CHOP. I sent all of Roman’s records to CHOP two days later. I called every Thursday for a month until they said he received his records. Meanwhile Roman was being sent home vent dependent and still no answers or hope. Dr. Campbell is at this point our only hope.

The day we were leaving to go home I requested a meeting with a doctor from ortho to make sure nothing can be done. I asked why he couldn’t do the VEPTRS because this hospital does them.  The doctor said he would not touch my son until at least 13 months. He’s too small. I told him I reached out to Dr. Campbell.  He laughed and said good luck he’s too busy. (the thing is, I found out that Dr. Campbell taught this doctor to do veptrs)! And you would think he would have referred us to Dr. Campbell to save our son’s life! No.

The first night home since birth, Roman goes into cardiac and respiratory distress and my husband and myself had to do cpr.  We were losing him.  He had a plug in his trach. We did not know until we we were transferred from our home hospital back to New York City.  While this was happening, our phones were not  charged. While we were driving home to get the vent and stuff for yet another hospital stay I plugged in my phone. I had at least six missed calls and a voice mail. (I still have the voice mail) When i listened to the voice mail it was “hello Mrs. Ducalo this is Dr. Campbell over here at chop. I can help your son. Please call me so i can have him transferred to our hospital asap.”  

I called him back crying and he was so sweet.  I don’t remember too much of the conversation because I was crying so much and I was in shock. About 4 days later we were transferred to chop. Dr. Campbell along with  Anna came in the room with a big smile on his faceand  says “oh good he’s a big kid” meaning my son was chunky. He continued to explain the kids need fat and muscle to cover the devices. He was delighted.  He had three other children waiting to have surgery but were too skinny.  He also explained how important it was to get this done sooner rather than later because children’s lungs can repair up till the age of 3. He continued to tell us Roman did not have 13 months probably no more than a year to live. He probably wouldn’t be able to walk either. 

Roman went through all his tests. Dr. Campbell came in and said, “Roman’s ready for surgery, are you?!  No turning back now you’re in it for the long haul!”

On May 18, 2011 Roman had gotten his VEPTRS, two spine rods and three rib to rib. He was 5 months old. He always said Roman was the youngest he had done and placed so many veptrs. Immediately after surgery, his breathing was better and he was straighter. Every surgery, Dr. Campbell would ask why he was still on the vent! I would say, that's Mommy's fault. I want to be safe and I was so afraid to go fast weaning him off the vent. Dr. Campbell was so good!  He understood, but said a little faster. When Roman was 9 months old, he came home, at two years old he took his first steps and when he was three his trach and vent were gone.

I always say God sent us our son, but he also put people in place to get us to Dr. Campbell.  I feel the same way now. Dr.Campbell probably took care of things before he passed without anyone knowing. I could not ever thank DR.campbell or his family enough for sharing him with us. Without that, my son would not be with us today. I do not know the future but now my son has one, thanks to Dr. Campbell. We are forever grateful. It will be hard bringing Roman for surgery now.  The halls won't feel the same.  Nothing will feel the same. But I know I can close my eyes and see his face and hear his voice reassuring us that it will be ok. He will be watching from above❤️"

With love always,
The Ducalo family!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 5

"Although we have never met Dr. Campbell, words can’t describe our gratitude. Two years ago, our surgeon told us that VEPTRs were our daughter’s only hope. Now, two years later, our daughter’s 3 VEPTRs have allowed her to grow and thrive beyond our expectations. We are forever grateful for this wonderful doctor."
-Cheryl Rawlings

“Mourning the loss of this wonderful man, doctor, surgeon and human. Dr. Campbell was the co-creator of the VEPTR implant that Erin received when she was 3. He helped thousands of children to be able to breathe, get straighter, live healthier, and longer lives.

He was practicing in Texas when Erin was eligible for implantation. Due to a scheduled presentation at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), Erin's surgeon, Dr. Alvin Crawford, was able to have Dr. Campbell in the operating room with him. Erin was the first "Rib Kid" at CCHMC, and was blessed to have both of these surgeons doing her surgery. We will never be able to thank Dr. Campbell for all he has done. Godspeed, Dr. Campbell!”
-Gail Kimball

In 1998 Lorenzo was the 60th child to experience  the VEPTR implant (#27 for Christus Santa Rosa, TX implants). Beginning with my first phone call and Lorenzo’s initial Smith-Campbell consultation I have always felt gratitude for the team’s innovation, care and willingness to go where others did not. The impact Dr. Campbell’s legacy has on countless lives, but for Lorenzo and our family the VEPTR impact can be measured with every full breath, every pixie like run, every bike ride, and every alpine ski run Lorenzo completes. The freedom Lorenzo has gained from the Dr. Campbell and Dr. Smith’s  groundbreaking creativity and persistence is awe-inspiring. 

Over the past 21 years Dr. Campbell has strengthened my character and elevated Lorenzo’s life through his active listening, attention to quality, and unconditional care. Dr. Campbell’s biopsychosocial medical framework infused innovation, interdisciplinary thinking, unwavering trust and fun into how I oriented to Lorenzo’s medical treatment. Dr.  Campbell embodied and inspired others to consider Lorenzo’s biological, social and emotional heath. He took the time to get to know Lorenzo’s personality and disposition, as well as the nuances of Lorenzo’s blended family and our over all wellbeing. Yes, Dr. Campbell, Lorenzo and the TX and PA interdisciplinary teams addressed medical challenges, that enables Lorenzo to live his fullest richest life. However, as these medical interactions unfolded Dr. Campbell and Lorenzo also ate cookies, shared songs, read books, played with bubbles, co-created art and showed me how to make unconditional love a way of being. 

Cheers to a life well lived and my heartfelt condolences to all who loved and supported Dr. Robert M Campbell Jr.”
-Michelle Marigliano (Mother of Lorenzo DiAndrea)

“Dr. Campbell saw Caleb when he was less than a year old and described him as a “sinking ship”. Caleb was underweight, trached and ventilator dependent.  He could not make noise, crawl, sit up alone or eat.  Dr. C was willing to take a chance on him when no one else would touch him.  

Caleb loved how he called him “big guy” like I’m sure he called a lot of the other kids he helped.   Caleb always felt at ease with him. He gave our family a sense of immediate trust and peace. 

Since I heard of his passing, I see my son again in new light- amazed by simple things like watching him play with his siblings.  Dr. C did 17 surgeries on Caleb since we first met him 7 years ago.  Thank you Dr. Campbell, we love you.”
-Meg Davis

"My son Mason wasn't treated by Dr. Campbell himself,  but by other doctors who he had trained to do the surgery. We were told Mason would not make it past his teenage years and at that not with any quality of life, due to his severe congenital scoliosis, fused rib cage, and multiple chest/spine anomalies. We were told he would slowly suffocate to death due to his rib cage not being open, so that his lungs can grow properly into adulthood. 

The process started when he was 6 months old and continues today. He had anterior/posterior spinal fusion when he was 1 year old (that was the best they could do then). We were asked if we wanted to take part in an experimental group called veptr when Mason was about 3 years old, because this new technology and  surgery was saving  kids' lives. 

Mason's doctor said he would send Mason's file to Texas for evaluation to see if he would be a candidate for the  program. There were no doctors/hospitals near us that did the surgery, so we were prepping for how to make all the trips to Texas possible. We got word, Mason was accepted!  Dr. Campbell said he could fix him :)  About the same time, Los Angeles Children's Hospital opened a program and we started making the long trips down there multiple times, but their program was shut down, so now what? We waited, wondering what was next- that's it, we're going to Texas to see Dr. Campbell in person.

Then Dr. Smith from Utah came to California and guided/trained our doctor here at Valley Children's Hospital to implant Mason's veptrs. He was about 5 years old. Then the process of every 6 months surgery, recovery, and pre/post appointments started. Mason is such a trooper and everyone loved him at the hospital. He broke a rod once during recovery and had to have it reimplanted and the doctor said 'we can fix that' -something Dr. Campbell would say. 

Yes, he has 10,000 scars, he's way smaller than kids his age, he walks slanted over, he wears glasses and hates to read, but he belongs to a special group of kids (veptr) and has learned to handle surgery, daily pain, teasing and bullying. It has all worked together to make him the strong person he is today. 

Mason's next veptr appointment is next week and they are wondering and figuring out what his next step is: leave them in,  take them out, do other rods, etc. He's had three years surgery-free from expansions. I am going to miss that they do not have Dr. Campbell's expertise and guidance any longer during this process, but....

Guess what? Mason is a thriving, go get em, I can do anything 18 year old now who did not suffocate to death during his teenage years. He runs track, loves to fish, does Crossfit, competitively swims, plays basketball, archery, trap shooting, loves hanging out with his friends and family, and many, many more. He's even been able to hang a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. TIS  never broke his spirit and never will. We have to tell him no sometimes, so he doesn't blow a rod ;)

Why is that? Because of Dr. Campbell's want, drive and strive to help TIS kids. Without his ingenuity, heart, soul, love for children and families, engineering, modifications, constant research, searching for a company to manufacture the rods, reading xrays and other packets from other doctors, training of doctors all over the U.S. and many other countries, a lot of kids and families would not be with their loved 'little' ones today.

I feel that God works through people and Dr. Campbell was an angel on special assignment from God. Thank you Campbell family for sharing him with us throughout the years. We are truly grateful for his love and commitment to the veptr community.

-LeeAnne Ramsey

Saturday, August 4, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 4

There are so many stories.  I won't stop until all of them are shared.  The words of the families who owe Dr. Campbell so much and simply beautiful.
"My daughter Linsey was the 18th child to have the Titanium Ribs. She is now 25 years old thanks to Dr Campbell and Dr Smith.  May you both Rest In Peace!  You made such a difference in so many lives! Thank you dear friend, you shall be missed..."
-Sue Ponfick

"Dr C. wasn't my son's doctor, but he saved his life every bit as much as Dr Oetgen who did his surgery . He gave me a little boy who is alive and no longer trach and vent dependent!!"
-Michelle Beckman

"I'm completely heart broken 💔 This man gave us hope with Kimmy when nobody else did.  He saved her life and mine because I don't know where I would be without Kimmy. I just feel my tears coming down randomly. I'm so scared with Kimmy's future veptrs.... I pray for his wife and kids, especially his younger ones. This man is a TRUE SUPER HERO!! He saved so many lives. I was really looking forward to our talk this September. And I still remember this past December when we took him a tequila bottle that we brought from Mexico.  He was so thankful and said "I needed this last week when my older kids came to visit". Dr. Cambell I will NEVER forget when we got to CHOP and met you.  You gave us hope!! We will forever be grateful to have met you. I could never ever pay you what you have given us, which is our perfect girl!!"
-Kimberly Alvarez

"We were at CHOP Orthopedic’s for Mary’s scoliosis appointment when Mary was 4 years old and our doctor said that we really needed to meet Dr. Campbell because Mary would need Veptr Rods. I remember feeling scared when he told me that she would have surgeries twice a year until she is fully grown. What is a Veptr Rod?
Mary already had Open Heart Surgery at 5 weeks of age, Bilateral Hip Dysplasia Surgery at 12 months, ear surgery, neck surgery, and Tonsils/Adenoids Surgery all before her 4th birthday, and now she needed spine surgeries? Mary's rare genetic disorder leaves her mentally and physically delayed.
Mary was also a sickly child, getting pneumonia every year. Nebulizer treatments were needed daily. Mary got Asthma. When I met Dr. Campbell he told me that Marys lungs were being crushed by her spine. She needed to get these rods or she would be on a ventilator in a few years. At the age of 5, Mary had her implant and she is 12 yrs old today and has never been so healthy!  Boy was Dr. Campbell right!
Do we love having all these surgeries? NO, but Dr. Campbell was so reassuring and the way he listened to our concerns and how he understood how scared we were, is priceless. I trusted him completely.
He holds a special place in our hearts and I will never forget what he did for our daughter. Rest In Peace Dr. Campbell."
-Naomi McKenna

"We are so very grateful for Dr. Campbell and for the “yes” he gave us to fight for our daughter’s life. We were told by other doctors that our daughter’s needs were “too severe and complex to do anything, she has about 1-2 years left to live” and that “no other doctor would touch her”. We refused to believe that. 

We found our way to CHOP and Dr. Campbell 6 months ago. Dr. Campbell’s words to us, gave us such relief “to not do anything, is not an option”.  While we are still new to the VEPTR journey for our Isla, we are overcome with gratitude that Isla got to be a patient of Dr. Campbell’s. Dr. Campbell left such an impression on us. We have a chance for life for our daughter…and for that, we are forever grateful to Dr. Campbell. We know he was a hero to so many families. Praying for his family, the VEPTR community, and his team at CHOP."

 - Justin and Molly Sindelar

Friday, August 3, 2018

An Angel for Our Angels, Volume 3

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of Dr. Campbell's character.  The stories tell of his love and dedication to his patients, and there are many more stories to tell.  


"I just feel so sad. When I told Owen that Dr. C could not operate anymore, he was so upset. That’s his friend and he is his tiger (as I am sure many of your kids have been called). I also am struggling to find the right words to describe what Dr. C did for our family. I know you all know since we are on similar paths. He saved Owen’s life. He gave him a quality of life he would not have had otherwise. He fixed it so Owen can enjoy the most simplest of things in life, but also experience the big things. He gave him his lungs. He saw the potential in Owen’s little severely curved body. The world has a hole in it now. And no one else can really fill it. RIP Dr. C."
-Owen, Nick, and Sara Sedey

"We started with Dr Smith and Dr Campbell back in 1994. Our daughter Jenny was #17. These doctors offered us the hope that no one else could. I am forever thankful they took a chance on Jenny and gave us 20 wonderfully blessed years with her. 

Thank you Lord for the gift of healing you placed in these Doctors hands and hearts and for their willingness to share it with our children. It has given so many of us the most precious gift possible, more time on this earth with our children. Let us always be thankful and never take this time for granted. We will miss you Dr Campbell."

-Lisa Hodes

"We adopted Lilly from China in 2009 at the age of 3, knowing that she had a severe spinal curvature and would likely need VEPTRs.  The pediatric orthopedist we first saw in Florida wanted to take a “wait and see” approach since we didn’t have any real baseline data on her curvature.  Lilly was quite malnourished when we received her, so when she got home and had good nutrition, her growth took off.  As a result her curvature quickly progressed from about 95-degrees to about 115-degrees in the 6 months he advocated waiting.  Needless to say, he was quick to refer us to CHOP to meet Dr. Campbell.  After all the initial workups by CHOP and a spinal cord de-tethering in Alabama, her curvature had progressed to roughly 125-degrees by the time of her implant.   

We are so grateful for the VEPTR and for Dr. Campbell’s dedication, expertise, compassion, and determination to help kids live full lives.  Without him, we know without a doubt Lilly’s life would have been cut short and quality of life would have diminished significantly as her curvature continued to progress.  She is now 12, entering puberty, looking ahead to middle school next year, she plays the flute (requiring a lot of wind!), and she lives a normal, active life.  While the VEPTR journey itself can be hard—surgeries, hospital stays, infections, family logistics when we travel to CHOP, etc.—we know the alternative is unthinkable.

We are grateful for Dr. Campbell's life’s work, his compassion, his commitment to Lilly."
-Amy Cantilina

It was 1998 and Madi had suffered through a full spinal fusion, which did not help her condition. We received a phone call to drop everything and head to San Antonio from NNY in the summer of 1999 to meet with Dr. Smith and Dr. Campbell and be screened for the VEPTR project. I have many memories of Dr. Campbell playing with Madi and the other children. It was immediately obvious how much he cared for each child. 

We went home and waited. Shortly, Lori called and said Madi would be “Riblet #98”.  Her original VEPTR devices were inserted over two years, on both sides. Dr. Campbell sent us to Dr. Moreland in Pittsburgh- and after he retired, Madi became Dr. Deeney’s patient. We adore Dr. Deeney immensely. 
Madi did have one more appointment with Dr. Campbell at Boston Children’s when she was undergoing some complications. As always, he was thorough, attentive and KIND.

Dr. Campbell understood the dynamics of the child who underwent so many medical procedures. He listened to frightened parents. He offered hope and a sense of ease in difficult times.  There is no way to thank him or praise him which covers his lifetime of service. 

My daughter is my world.  I owe Dr Campbell My World.
-Rhonda Foote