The Children's Institute Blog

Samantha's Army Supports Brain Injury Recovery in Highmark Walk

Posted: May 05, 2017 by The Children's Institute


When Samantha Anderson was a year old, she suffered a near-drowning in a bathtub that left her with a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.

“Four years ago, when she got to The Children’s Institute, she couldn’t sit, she couldn’t eat and she was barely making any sounds. She was G-tube-dependent and had a trach. She was minimally functioning, from a physical perspective,” said her mother, Michele. “The care she got at Children’s Hospital saved her life. But the care that she got at The Children’s Institute … helped her regain her quality of life.”

Today, Samantha, now five, is getting ready to enter kindergarten, has tested out of both speech therapy for talking and out of cognitive support, and is raising funds for The Children’s Institute as part of her Samantha’s Army walkers in Saturday’s Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. You can show your support by donating to her personal page.


Michele said the walk is the least her family can do for an organization that gave her daughter a new lease on life.

“What’s so important that we got from The Children’s Institute is that they don’t put any limitations on the children, on what they can and can’t do,” she told me. “We didn’t ever feel like there wasn’t something that could be done. From when she started [therapy] after the accident to now, it’s really miraculous.”

Samantha still has hurdles ahead of her – a recent ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor appointment revealed the right-hand side of her vocal chords are paralyzed – but she is facing them, her mother said.

“The challenge of having a child with a brain injury, especially someone who was so young when they were injured, is we can never know if something is a result of her brain injury, if it’s something that’s permanent, if it’s something that’s temporary,” Michele said. “But she is the story that people can use to give people hope.”


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