Although my most rewarding job is my current role as full-time mother to three amazing children, I began my career in marketing research. I studied at the University of Pennsylvania, earning degrees in both psychology and economics/marketing. I worked in strategy consulting, and eventually moved into the field of health care marketing research for SmithKline Beecham and Amgen. I really enjoyed learning more about treating important diseases and conditions, and I most enjoyed helping bring to market new medications to help improve and extend people’s lives.
My youngest, Samantha, was always a very athletic girl involved in tennis and soccer – an extremely positive, engaging, and social child. Toward the end of fifth grade, she began experiencing knee pain, which continued to worsen over more than a year, until she needed a wheelchair, not able to put any weight on either leg. Over that time, we tried every type of doctor, physical therapy, and medication we could find, trying to figure out why her knee kept getting worse, instead of better, with more and more rest. Physicians came up with various diagnoses that explained her knee pain (bone lesion, Osgood-Schlatters), but there was no explanation for her continued deterioration. Eventually, we were referred to Whole Child LA, a pediatric pain center, where she was given a diagnosis of CRPS. Even though we had a correct diagnosis and a team of talented specialists providing targeted therapy, it still took almost six months for Samantha to finally get out of the wheelchair and start walking on her own. Now, Samantha only has occasional knee pain. She has switched from soccer to dance, and really enjoys the dance classes she takes every day after school. Her sense of humor and bright personality are back, and she is really enjoying eighth grade, fully involved with all activities.
The worst part of the whole experience was watching Samantha suffer, and feeling so helpless and isolated in trying to help her. Her physical pain was difficult to witness, but also the emotional and social toll it took on her, right when she was adjusting to her first year in middle school. There was also a major impact on our whole family dynamic, as other siblings were impacted by the profound change in our family and all of the time spent trying to heal Samantha. It is very important to me to help others experiencing what we went through. I want to be a part of making their experience a little better – through information and education and through creating a supportive community for the child and the caregivers.