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Today I wanted to share how grateful I was for a special group of people in my life. These men and women were the doctors and nurses that helped me when I was at Stanford for my surgeries. They made my experience wonderful, even considering the circumstances surrounding my visit.

The picture above was taken during my time at Stanford after my two surgeries. I was recovering and starting to get back into the flow of normal life; I emailed my friends, played with my Pokemon Cards, and watched tons of TV. Since my stay at Stanford was in the Fall, Halloween happened while I was still recovering from my operations.

For all of the children at Stanford for various operations and surgeries, there was a mini Halloween trick-or-treating party. I remember that I wanted to dress up in a Stormtrooper costume, but the helmet restricted the incision marks from my surgeries. To allow me the “full” experience of the costume, a face-painter hired by Stanford copied made me a “mask” of my own (see above).

During the brief hour that the trick-or-treating lasted, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital was transformed into every kid’s ideal Halloween: endless heaps of candy and awesome costumes everywhere. While I was in the moment, I enjoyed walking around what used to be sterile white halls with intimidating machines filled with balloons and silly costumes. Looking back at my experience now, I realize how much time and effort was put into the creation of such an unnecessary event.

Making a Halloween party for kids who perhaps did not have any other source of fun or happiness in their lives was one of the many actions that made Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital a truly remarkable experience. The people who worked there were kind and understanding; they knew that allowing little boys and girls to enjoy Halloween would let them feel like happy, normal kids.

Many of these activities and services towards patients at the hospital had nothing to do with physical health. Instead, they helped revive the emotional and mental state of patients who could have spent months lying in a hospital bed. Halloween at the hospital gave children something to enjoy when there was not much else.

To all members of the Stanford Neurosurgery team and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital: Thank you, and I would not be here today, in the state I am without you.

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