Children’s Mercy Hospital offers special day for kids living with trachs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For kids living with a tracheotomy it can be hard. Not only is the medical procedure difficult, but others might stop and stare. Children's Mercy Hospital is going to help with an event later this month - just for them.

Kids like Oliver and Jordan, both 2-years-old, who just met, but have a bond they can't yet comprehend.

"For some children, and people, they stare, and they look at him,"Jordan's mother, Brittany Garcia said.

"I mean, it's hard, but it`s all he's ever known," Oliver's mother, Sabrina Fannin-Hughes said.

Both boys live with a tracheostomy. It's a tube that allows them to breathe directly into their windpipes. Ollie has a muscle disorder, while Jordan developed a lung disease from being born premature.

"To Jordan this is just his normal lifestyle," Garcia said. "It's all he's ever known. This is our first child for my husband and I so it's all we know."

However, thanks to Children's Mercy Hospital, on September 29, kids just like Jordan and Ollie will come together and play.

"I'm excited for him to just be in a room with other kids who have these accessories, and it's not going to be weird," Fannin-Hughes said.

"I think it's a great way to bring all these families together to get to know one another, and to just feel like you are in a community of people that you've all been on the same journey even though your child has a different diagnosis," Garcia said.

Both parents say the interaction is something their children crave, because sometimes other kids don't know how to react.

"The worst is when a kid is staring and a parent wants to usher them away like it's something to be ashamed of, and I hate that," Fannin-Hughes said. "I want them to ask questions, because it's something that's part of his life, and it will be forever."

They say, while their kids are different, they are normal, and hope other families like theirs come out to play too.

"Every path is a different one, but it's okay, and things get better," Garcia said. "Reach out for help and support, and that's really what this day is about. We really just wanted to bring all these families together, and to just know that there's other people out there, there's support for you, and to just relax and have fun.

If your child has a similar condition, and they would like to be part of the play date, here is what you need to know. The event is on Saturday, September 29 at The Lenexa Community Center. It's from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. You will need to R.S.V.P. by emailing TrachFamilyDay@cmh.edu with your child's name, and how many people will be attending.