My name is Raychelle Werking and I am a senior Marketing major. I started my own blog as a part of my Digital Marketing class I am currently enrolled in at Siena College. At the young age of 21, I can say I have found my true passion in life. I love working with kids, more specifically, kids with disabilities and illnesses. This blog gives me the opportunity to connect marketing to working with these kids.
This passion of mine was not something I learned or just suddenly discovered. I, myself, am a kid who grew up with a serious disability. At nine months old, I was diagnosed with a severe case of idiopathic infantile scoliosis. To explain it simply, I have a spine shaped like an “S” (85 degrees upper curve, 57 degrees lower curve). Over the course of nine years, I had 17 full upper body castings with full anesthesia at Albany Medical Center. These casts, made of plaster and weighing about five pounds, became my best and worst friend. Eventually, however, my spinal specialists found it to not be effective for my severe case. My parents had to make a difficult decision to try the daunting surgeries that we had always hoped to avoid. I was brought to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a non-profit hospital that provides services to kids with the most severe medical cases. I am thankful for this hospital because it connected me with the “gurus” of scoliosis. I have my own spine specialists and team. From nine years old until now, I have had eight surgeries at Shriners. The very first surgery entailed a blood transfusion and the placing of dual titanium rods to my spine. It was a very intense and risky operation that my doctor finished by saying a memorable sentence to my parents who were anxiously awaiting the results. My doctor said, “It was a tough battle, but Raychelle won.” After this surgery, I had to spend about a month in the hospital learning how to walk all over again. The surgeries that followed were lengthening procedures to lengthen the rods as I grew. I am currently awaiting the final major surgery where these temporary rods will be removed and permanent rods will be fused to the spine. Until very recently, I was never able to participate in a gym class, learn how to swim, or ride a roller coaster. These permanent rods will finally allow me to do so safely. I cannot thank this hospital enough for how much it has done for me. I can honestly say that because my case was so severe, I may not be alive today without their help and expertise.
This blog delivers a unique perspective of a kid growing up with a disability, sitting on the sidelines, and relying on non-profit organization services to support her throughout her life. I truly enjoy working with kids who have scoliosis or other disabilities and illnesses as well. I have met numerous kids who have been through so much more than me and I aspire to be like them everyday. I know what it is like to deal with constant X-rays, MRIs, blood work, operations, procedures, and pre-op and post-op appointments, always feeling like life is a never ending tunnel. My goal for this blog is to educate children and parents about several different non-profit organizations that were created solely to support kids with illnesses and disabilities. I have either been a child who has utilized the services of these specific non-profits or have volunteered to work with them hands on. I believe non-profits can transform a child’s life. My experiences I plan to share with you in this blog will prove to you just how beneficial they can be for everyone.