Our son, Connor, was born November 29, 2012 after a normal pregnancy and no complications whatsoever. Within minutes of his birth, he was rushed to the NICU and we were being told phrases like “serious condition” and “lung dysfunction” and “expect the worse”. As the doctors discussed the situation with us, we were in such shock that we honestly thought they were in the wrong room. For the next few months of our family’s life, we did not know from one day to the next what to expect each day. The greatest issue was that his lungs did not want to breathe on their own, so the initial outlook was very serious.
Thanks to the amazing team of pediatricians and the devotion and commitment of Chattanooga’s only Pediatric Pulmonologist, it was determined he had a genetic abnormality called Surfactant Protein C Mutation. Fortunately, we are able to manage this with no serious impact to his health and development. Our team of doctors don’t know what will happen as he grows up or if there will be any other side effects with this deficiency, but for now (at the age of 4), the easiest way to describe his condition is a mild form of asthma.
WHAT WE DO
We have a saying at the Foundation that sums it all up– “Every Family is a team… and every team is a Family.” In those dark moments, it was the support of our family at home and also our new family at The Erlanger Children’s Hospital that carried us through to better days. My husband and I (and our family and circle of friends) knew we had to find a way to support our new Children’s Hospital family because every child and their family deserves an amazing team. We created the Connor Pullen Foundation (CPF) in 2014 in order to do something to help.
Initially, our experience prompted us to act on behalf of children suffering from lung disease. However, as we began forming the Foundation, we realized through our research and numerous conversations with the doctors and staff that there is a shortage of students being attracted to pediatric medicine and many of the subspecialties, not just pulmonary medicine. This is not just occurring locally but nationally as well.
Just as our Mission statement says, CPF is dedicated to “supporting medical education by attracting, engaging and supporting students, residents and fellows to positively impact the health of our region.” No family should have to travel to obtain the necessary care for their children.
We have already seen the impact of helping our initial medical students by providing them temporary housing while they do one month rotations here at our Children’s Hospital. At present, we are in construction for Connor’s Condo and hope to be done by early Spring 2017. Once it is completed, we will be able to continuously offer a great place to live (and also showcase our great city of Chattanooga!) while they are here rotating.
Our foundation will continue to support students as they strive to finish their medical education so that for every medical student we help attract into any field in pediatric medicine, they in turn will treat thousands of children throughout their career. This means that the CPF, in our own small way, is also helping those children and those families. In addition, we are also helping your communities, where ever you are, because as we help inspire and support medical students in to pediatric medicine and pediatric subspecialties then they are also coming to your towns and cities as well.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
First of all, thank you for your interest in our story. We would love to have your support. Here is what we ask you to do…
- Make a gift today to help us finish Connor’s Condo and support our mission
- Share our story with your friends and family
- “Like” us on Facebook so you will be aware of upcoming events and the latest updates on our activities
- Contact us for more information or to volunteer for an event
Again, we thank you and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Oh… we almost forgot. Connor thanks you as well!