Meet Sienna, your 2018 Patient Hero for Autism Research
Sienna is one sassy 6-year-old. She loves to strike a pose and already has her runway strut perfected. Her presence in front of the camera is magical.
One blogger wrote this about Sienna: “I was blown away by the presence, the strength, and the love of this little girl.”
Sienna is remarkable for many reasons. One is that she has autism and does not communicate verbally. Her mom, Karyn, discovered that Sienna can express herself through modeling and fashion. Sienna’s photos and story show that there are no limits for children with autism. She has become an inspiration for people around the world and has nearly 20,000 Instagram followers!
“Through modeling Sienna can express herself without words,” says Karyn. “She can emote feelings that you can see in her eyes or body language. Every time she gets in front if the camera she becomes more confident. At a fashion show she has the chance to make friends and live a very ‘normal’ life even for just one day. She gets to be one of the girls, and dress up like a princess. Seeing Sienna become more social every day and come out of her shell gives me goosebumps. Two years ago, she would not even acknowledge anyone.”
Sienna’s autism diagnosis at age 4 was one element of her connection to Packard Children’s, but her history with the hospital goes all the way back to her infancy.
Born with a chronic lung condition, Sienna had trouble breathing and had to wear oxygen 24/7 from birth. At 10 months old, her respiratory distress worsened and she was admitted to Packard Children’s under the care of pediatric pulmonologist Sumit Bhargava, MD—the first of many hospital stays. Sienna’s condition makes infections like pneumonia especially dangerous. Respiratory failure once put her in a coma for five days.
“Packard Children’s has saved Sienna’s life more than once, and they have become family to us,” says Karyn. “The doctors and nurses that cared for Sienna during her inpatient stays have given us immeasurable strength.”
Over the years, Sienna and her parents have relied on Packard Children’s Complex Primary Care Clinic to help them navigate the daunting task of coordinating with care providers across multiple specialties. In addition to pulmonologists, Sienna sees respiratory therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and gastroenterologists.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of her Complex Care Pediatrician Dr. Bergman, her GI team, and finally the doctors who diagnosed her with autism and gave us the tools and resources to change her life for the better,” says Karyn. “They have supported her and watched her grow into the beautiful 6-year-old she is today.”
Thank you, Scamper-ers, for supporting patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. You help Sienna and children like her overcome health challenges and live life to the fullest.
Don’t miss it as Sienna takes the stage on June 24 and is celebrated as our 2018 Summer Scamper Patient Hero representing the hope made possible by autism research. She is a star!
Sienna is #WhyWeScamper.
Register today for the 8th annual Summer Scamper on Sunday, June 24, 2018, and support care, comfort, and cures for more kids like Sienna.