Hi! My name is Samantha. I am 13 years old and in eighth grade. My main love is dancing, because it makes me feel like I can do anything and combines several things I love – listening to music, being active, and being creative. I have always loved playing sports, but when I was in fifth grade, I started having sudden, sharp pains in my knee that prevented me from doing anything active. The biggest issue was that none of the doctors I went to knew what was causing the pain, so they didn’t know how to help. We tried everything – many doctors and physical therapists, lots of medications – but nothing helped, and I ended up on crutches for several months, and eventually in a wheelchair for much of the year. Every day, I went to appointments but nothing worked. I had no time to see my friends, and when I did, it was very hard to see them able to do whatever they enjoyed, while I couldn’t do anything. I felt very alone, like no one knew what I was going through. 

Finally, my parents found about Whole Child LA, where I was diagnosed with CRPS. Dr. Zeltzer ultimately helped me to walk again.  It was really hard work and very time-consuming, but I’ve never been happier. I am so grateful for the whole team because now I can not only walk, but I can dance every day with no pain. I have tried to help others like me by raising money for The Wheelchair Foundation to provide wheelchairs to children and young adults who can’t afford them all over the world. I am really honored to be on the Patient Advisory Board at CHYP, because those two years of my life were extremely difficult, and I wish I had someone at that time that had this in common with me to help me through it. I want people with chronic pain to know I am there for them, because the experience can make you feel very alone. I look forward to helping those struggling with chronic pain to make a difference in their lives. Also, I want to thank Dr. Zeltzer and her team from the bottom of my heart for helping me. 

Samantha’s creative healing: baking, spending time with her dog, and being with animals