There have been such a large number of people who had a positive impact on Karrli's life, and I would like to take this time to thank many of them for their particular affect not only on Karrli, but also on myself and our entire family.
Debby McGrath, who is a CF social worker at CHOP, but ended up being like a member of our family. She was Karrli's best friend: a sister, an aunt, and a mom all rolled into one. Karrli even said that Debby was "her Jen," referencing my best friend who is like a sister to me.
Doctor Dave Barrett, who only met Karrli at the beginning of her most recent stay at CHOP and shared a special bond of "Geekdom" with Karrli that was important to her because that was a side of herself that she had few people to bond with over.
Doctor Aaron Dorfman, Karrli's primary doctor for the last three weeks. He took patient relations to a new level, stopping in and phoning frequently to check in with Karrli or to just simply say hello and show his support. He was so caring not only to Karrli but to the family as well.
Doctor Keri Cohen, the doctor who was with us at the toughest time. Her warmth, calmness, and honesty at the most critical time helped us as a family survive those hours, and for that we are so grateful to her.
Doctor "Lisa," who gave great hugs, had a great smile, and was the perfect listener.
"Danny Boy," a.k.a. Dr. Daniel Weiner, was always ready with a great joke, a great card trick, and of course a great bowtie. "Danny Boy" was the special nickname that Karrli requested to call him and that he, being so fond of her, permitted her to use much to her delight.
"Ronnie," a.k.a. Dr. Rubenstein, was incredibly helpful and understanding about our decisions at critical times.
Mike Donahue, a nurse practitioner who knew Karrli for many years and helped to keep her strong with his compassionate analogies and his humor.
Barb Heinreich, another nurse practitioner that knew Karrli and her personality for the longest, probably since she was about 5 or 6. Barb was able to relate to my situation through her personal experiences and helped me to get through the whole thing.
"Tom," a.k.a. Doctor Scanlin, has been Karrli's primary doctor for 17 years. He was directly honest with Karrli during her most crucial time but still kept hope in his heart for her. I am particularly grateful to him for the personal care he showed towards not only Karrli but towards Lyndsay as well. As stoic of a man as Doctor Scanlin is, it was obvious that Karrli was very special to him and he is special to us too.
Dr. Perez is great! She wins the prize for best personality and our whole family loved the way she handled every situation.
So many nurses have cared for Karrli through the years, and I would just like to thank a few:
Jean-Ann, the head nurse, guided us and helped me the entire time.
Xenia, who I appreciate that she called me Mary, who I think of as a friend.
I'd love to talk about everyone, but there are so many nurses: Ashley, Frannie, Sarah, Alex, Caroline, Tracey, MaryBeth, Angie, Marty, Natalie, Hannah, and Katie, a nurse Karrli loved who is no longer at CHOP.
As with nurses, there was a whole crew of respiratory people that were important:
Erika extended over and above her job responsibilities and helped Karrli with anything she needed.
Matt, who was Karrli's buddy who clearly cared for her a great deal and would visit whenever he could.
Joey-Lynn and many others, including some of the night staff, who stayed with her during her treatments, and supervisors who came down at a moment's notice.
Tracey, the physical therapist, who was always so cheerful and encouraging.
Mike, who talked to Karrli at great length about lung transplants and the preparation it entails.
Two people that stood out in the non-patient care department were the woman who always delivered Karrli's meals and snacks with a smile on her face, and the man who cleaned Karrli's room in a delicate and sensitive way, and even said that he wished he could do more.
My sister Laurie and my mom who came from California at a moment's notice. They cooked, cleaned, did anything we asked, and made sure I ate well under such difficult circumstances.
Jen, my best friend and "sista," whose caring, concern, and personality I could not imagine being without. Her help was and is invaluable to our whole family and me. Jen knows exactly how I feel about her.
To Karrli's sisters: Hailley, who was the mom to us, and Lyndsay, who was there for us.
To Karrli's father, who really is Corey, the Saint Bernard. Thank you honey for putting up with me, the Chihuahua dog, and for being there for Karrli and me at the drop of a hat.
And finally, to Karrli, "The Boss," who really ran the show, and who taught many people what is truly important. She also wrote many things, and this one seems the most poignant, written January of 2000: "You haffta be happy every second you breathe."