A strong spirit
A 16 year old’s nightmare
Two days before Thanksgiving 2003, Kelby Grimm suffered seizures, flu-like symptoms and gradually slipped into a coma. For nearly a week, 16-year-old Kelby remained in a coma only to wake up paralyzed on the entire left side of her body. It was discovered that she had a massive brain lesion that completely destroyed all motor skills on the right side of her brain. Doctors believe that Kelby has a condition known as Shilder’s Disease, a rare and usually fatal disease for which there is no known cause or cure.
An amazing success
After 125 days in an intensive care unit in a hospital, Kelby was transferred to The Children’s Institute. Upon arrival, Kelby could only lift her head off the pillow. Her body was so devastated by the disease; she weighed a mere 64 pounds, and was near death numerous times. After two months at The Children’s Institute, however, Kelby was taking her first steps, going for car rides and maintaining a 3.8 average in her 10th grade studies.
Five years later
Today, Kelby is a successful junior at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA — one of the top and toughest colleges in the United States. She is still partially paralyzed and suffers from seizures, but her spirit is strong and she has never given up.
A message of hope
Last year, Kelby started a new holiday tradition. Wanting to give back, Kelby raised money at school and among friends and family to buy gifts for other kids at The Children’s Institute. When Kelby arrived at The Children’s Institute, she was greeted with smiles and a special message from one teenage girl who told Kelby, “You made my day.” Another told Kelby she gave her hope to survive and do well.
Kelby returned to The Children’s institute on December 23 to once again provide gifts to inpatients. "I am so thankful and grateful to be able to come here to The Children’s Institute and bring gifts for the children as I truly know what it is like to be hospitalized over the holidays. I'll never forget my time here. I owe the Children's Institute so much for helping me get back on my feet. They're the best!"
Join Kelby and the hundreds of other supporters of The Children’s Institute by visiting amazingkids.org/giving.
This is a poem that Kelby wrote about the caregivers she encountered during her stay in The Hospital at The Children's Institute:
They float from room to room
A soft touch is given
A smile to wake you up
You’re not any less
Than the next one through the door
They’ll remind you daily
As if a whisper to a roar
The first snow
That’s gone before you see
It was even there at all
Is their muse
Leaving day, prayer away
The wave and you’ll wave back
Broken once, you’ll leave them whole
For it’s not courage, that you lack
Blinded to the bad
They make you think it’s gone
Between the tears and pain
They’ll tilt your chin towards endless sky
Because of this you’ll soon take flight
All who love will sing
Even still you owe it all to
Angels without wings
Thanks for everything!