This year, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford celebrated its 25 anniversary. The event was special for many people, but for Misty Blue Foster the milestone was especially meaningful — 25 years ago Packard Children's gave her a second shot at life, a second home and a family.
Misty was born with a heroin addiction, spina bifida and a rare birth defect, called a cloacal exstrophy, that caused her bladder and intestines to be exposed outside of her body. In the fall issue of Stanford Medicine News, she shares how her health issues and frequent hospitalizations led to a unique relationship with the people of Packard Children's:
When I was 5 years old, my mom passed away in prison due to health issues from years of drug abuse. I was placed in permanent foster care, the beginning of 14 painful, difficult years in the system…
I have had more surgeries than I can count to maintain function in my bowels, bladder, spine, pelvis and hips. Because I didn’t have a parent to advocate for me, I learned to be my own advocate and to ask lots of questions so I could be informed of the decisions being made about my care.
My nurses and doctors, concerned about my lack of parental support, were the first adults who respected my voice and made me feel safe and deserving of a good chance in life.
Registered nurse Petie Cote, who Misty calls "mom," visited Misty on her breaks and took her for walks around the hospital. Packard Children's volunteer Dave Olsen, Misty's "grandpa," read stories to Misty as a child and shared many holidays and milestones with her.
With the support of her Packard family, Misty pursued her dream and became a licensed vocational nurse. She writes, "I hope that my work as a nurse will allow me to pay forward the extraordinary care I’ve experienced throughout my life."
Previously: Happy 25th birthday, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford!
Photo courtesy of Misty Blue Foster