'Kids Can' Dazzle Us With Their Potential—and Define Us in the Process

Our people show up every day for kids. It’s a unifying truth about Cincinnati Children’s. Each and every one of us—from the NICU and Guest Services to the Research Foundation and Environmental Services—is here for the health, strength and limitless future of kids. We work tirelessly so kids can heal and hope. So kids can be kids today and leaders tomorrow. And so that when they leave here and return to their

lives, kids themselves can choose how to finish the all-important sentence that begins: “Kids can ….” These two words are so powerful and appropriate to both our work and the lives of children that they form the centerpiece of Cincinnati Children’s newest messaging. By now you’ve no doubt seen kids can on TV, on billboards and on campus—or heard it on Pandora and Spotify.

A Celebration

Above all else, kids can is a celebration of children. Because within every child lives the promise, the wonder and the opportunity to create a healthier future for us all. Through every child, humanity is given another chance to better itself and the world. kids can wholeheartedly embraces the courageous, hopeful spirit of children that’s best exemplified by the champions featured in this article. Whenever possible, kids can chooses to showcase not models but real-life Cincinnati Children’s patients like Anna Grace, A’Layah and Allison. Their stories become the Cincinnati Children’s story; their successes define our success. Who these kids can be and what these kids can do will become our lasting legacy.

Kids Can Face Challenges With Grace and Strength

Anna Grace was a 1-year-old living in an orphanage in her native China when her future adoptive mother Wynne Philippe first contacted the International Adoption Center at Cincinnati Children’s. Just over a year later, Wynne brought Anna Grace home to Fort Thomas, KY. Eight weeks and one surgery later to prepare her deformed limb for a prosthetic, Anna Grace took her first-ever steps without assistance on a new prosthetic leg. “She took off with it,” says Wynne of her dynamo of a daughter. And Anna Grace hasn’t slowed down since. Now an eight-year-old, Anna Grace bikes, swims, plays soccer and particularly loves “ninja kicks.” Once, an employee at a climbing wall gym looked at her and said, “She can’t climb.” Anna Grace instantly responded, “Excuse me, sir? 'Can't' is not a word that we use. It might be hard, but we can always try." She then promptly climbed to the top. With her can-do attitude, Anna Grace is well on her way to realizing her career aspirations: running a “nub camp”—a camp for kids with limb differences—and being a motivational speaker. When asked what other surprising things she’s capable of, Anna Grace exclaims: “I can jump through flaming hoops like a lion!” No one’s surprised. Not even a little bit.

“Can't isn't a word that we use."
Anna Grace

A Reminder

But the kids can campaign is also a reminder, one that is perhaps more relevant today than ever: Without support, kids face a difficult world. Globally, kids and their families confront a pandemic. Nationally, they face a crisis of social injustice. And not far from the doors of Cincinnati Children’s, they live with devastating health and economic disparities. But with the right support, the world can be transformed into endless possibility. You’ve heard that it takes a village, and it does. It is a village comprised of families, neighbors and community physicians as well as the healers, researchers and all the rest of Cincinnati Children’s committed and caring professionals. When all of us come together to work as one, kids can overcome and amaze us. We hope that each time you read or hear a kids can message, it reminds you of the powerful truth—that you are the vital support to children. That brings us to the promise inherent in kids can.

“Cincinnati Children's will go above and beyond. I've never left their care."

Kids Can See a Brighter Future Because They’re the Ones Building It

As a seven-year-old in Virginia, Jeffrey Dell was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and given one to two years to live. After chemotherapy, full-body radiation and a bone transplant, he proved that prognosis wrong. A few years later, his family moved to Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Children’s took on his post-remission care. That was nearly 25 years ago. “They watched me grow up,” explains Jeffrey. In that time, he’s had a tumor surgically removed from his brain stem and undergone three cycles of chemotherapy and radiation. Jeffrey is at peace with the fact that, at the moment, nothing else can be done due to the tumor’s location. He credits his faith, his family and Cincinnati Children’s for that. “We feel protected by Cincinnati Children’s,” says his wife Danielle, who works at the hospital’s Liberty Campus Emergency Department. “They literally saved his life.” Jeffrey hopes his and his wife Danielle’s six-year-old daughter, A’Layah, who is also a patient at Cincinnati Children’s for a growth and development condition, is learning from his resilience. He also hopes she’s learning “that all people are the same, whether they have cancer or autism, hair or no hair.” Danielle has no doubt that A’Layah is learning these lessons. “A’Layah will have perseverance. She’s seen it in her father, who’s never given up. And because of her experience, she won’t be that kid that laughs at other kids.”

A promise

In 1883, Cincinnati Children’s story humbly began when three compassionate women turned a house into a small hospital. From those modest origins, our organization has been home to many firsts and has made medical history countless times. In fact, any team member who has not browsed the historical timeline should do so, because these achievements are what’s made Cincinnati Children’s one of the world’s premier children’s hospitals today.

Between now and our 150th birthday in 2033, our organization will honor that tremendous history and build an even greater legacy by focusing on Care, Community, Cure and Culture. We are Pursuing Our Potential Together so all kids can pursue theirs.

That’s our promise. That kids can depend on Cincinnati Children’s to help them fulfill their greatest potential, regardless of ability, gender or the color of their skin. When we make good on that promise, the result is the most wonderful thing we know: a strong, confident child with their whole life ahead of them and the opportunity to better the lives of everyone around them.

Kids Can Be True to Themselves

A hospital is often the place you go when your body needs fixing. But sometimes, it’s where you go when the world itself needs fixing. Nineteen-year-old Allison Kurtz has experienced both. As a child, Allison’s appointments at Cincinnati Children’s for kidney disease “were routine.” That changed at 14, when Allison’s persistent discomfort with her male birth gender and her struggles with mental illness had become unbearable. From the moment Allison walked into the Transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s, the world felt more inclusive of her. She remarks, “I was amazed to find doctors talking to my parents and me. I felt like an equal in a conversation about myself, which was incredible and something I hadn’t experienced yet.” Of her long-time doctor, Lee Ann Conard, RPh, DO, MPH, Allison says “she helped me gain control of my fate.” Today, Allison is a sophomore in college. She’s not only sure of who she is, but also what she wants to do with her life: write and change the world. “Because, if you haven’t looked around, things need to change. If no one else is going to talk about it, then I will.” Now that’s taking control of one’s fate.

"Because, if you haven't looked around, things need to change. If no one else is going to talk about it, then I will."

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