Impact of Philanthropy: Little Lives Saved
Gaby Aitkenhead and her twin sons Mateo (left) and Diego
Little Lives Saved
Gaby Aitkenhead took one look at her infant son Mateo and knew he was in big trouble. He had been suffering from what they thought was a cold, but that night she realized his situation was far more serious. “He was dehydrated and really weak,” she says. “But when he started vomiting, I felt something was very wrong.” She and her husband Bobby rushed Mateo to CPMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department and literally as they arrived, he stopped breathing.
Mateo was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is usually a mild illness for older children, but much more serious for babies. Mateo’s twin brother Diego also became ill and they both spent two weeks in CPMC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “The quality of the medical care was outstanding,” says Gaby.
The staff not only cared for the boys, but for the family as well, allowing them to sleep in their sons' ICU room and take part in their healing. Gaby was amazed that the nurses “would bring the kids toys, sing them songs, caress them – their compassion was incredible.”
Today, Mateo and Diego are nearly two years old and doing great. In appreciation, the Aitkenheads have made a philanthropic gift to CPMC Pediatrics to help other families get the same outstanding care. “Even as difficult as it was, everyone was so comforting that I still think of it as a good experience,” says Gaby.