Giving Back and Paying Forward

By Michelle Hopkins

Bryan Osterday and his son Reece sign the beam that was placed in the new Critical Care Building.

They turned him around to be a productive, outgoing, smart and happy child. He wouldn’t be alive without the care; they saved his life over and over and over.

There are few parents who can say Cincinnati Children’s helped save their child’s life, not once, but four different times. Bryan Osterday is one of them. His son Reece, now 16, was born with multiple health challenges including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and a feeding disorder. He spent countless hours at Cincinnati Children’s that included life-saving surgeries and therapies.

Osterday credits top-notch care from Cincinnati Children’s doctors and nurses. “They turned him around to be a productive, outgoing, smart and happy child. He wouldn’t be alive without the care; they saved his life over and over and over.”

Osterday realizes the debt he owes will never be paid back, but he can pay forward to make the future care of Cincinnati Children’s families the best it can be.

“Once Reece was out of the danger zone and stable, I felt like I had the time and wherewithal to contribute to the place that helped him get through,” he said.

So, for the last three years, Osterday has put his medical background as a dentist and his experience as a patient family to work with parent groups that give advice and make recommendations to leadership. He serves on the hospital’s Patient Advisory Council and the parent councils for developmental disabilities as well as the autism parent group.

Whether it’s a decision on a new visitor smoking policy or the CAREN mobile scheduling application, Osterday feels like he’s an important part of Cincinnati Children’s. His work not only benefits the hospital, but he believes it’s helped him cope with the challenge of raising a son with special needs.


“I feel less helpless. I feel like I’ve gained some of that power back,” he said. And for parents like him, who are in an advisory role, that power is very real. “If a problem arises in the hospital, they come and ask our opinion. The CEO of the hospital was at our meeting, the division heads come to our meetings. If they’re going to come listen to a bunch of families talk, there’s a reason, and they’re taking it seriously,” he said.


Osterday says he’s seen proof that when the parent groups weighs in, leadership not only takes it seriously, they take action. He recalls a time when he had the opportunity to give his opinion on new feeding tubes and how to best communicate a change in policy to patient families. This hit especially close to home for him. His son had spent 5 years on a feeding tube.

I feel less helpless. I feel like I’ve gained some of that power back.
We put our signature on something that’s going to be around for decades and decades, if not hundreds of years, and that’s kinda cool to know that the building and what goes on inside is going to save the lives of tens of thousands of children.

Now, Osterday looks to the future of Cincinnati Children’s and the new Critical Care Building. As he watches the different phases of construction, he knows all too well that the building represents the collaboration of hundreds of staff, patients, families and community partners to transform how families will experience care at Cincinnati Children’s. From the physical layout to the color scheme, he and others provided key advice from a parent perspective.

A piece of the future building—a 250 lb., steel beam is part of the hospital’s history. Osterday and Reece had the opportunity to sign it.

“We put our signature on something that’s going to be around for decades and decades, if not hundreds of years, and that’s kinda cool to know that the building and what goes on inside is going to save the lives of tens of thousands of children,” he said.

Osterday has seen first-hand the life-saving work at Cincinnati Children’s. He’s just glad to be able to offer something in return. “I feel like I have a voice to help make things better for everyone now and into the future.”

It’s his way of giving back and paying forward.

I feel like I have a voice to help make things better for everyone now and into the future.

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