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Being a Survivor is Isaiah’s Reality

Prayer, family and the Golisano Children’s Hospital credited with survival

Friday, May 20, 2005

After a child survives two bouts of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), along with muscle weaknesses that require ongoing therapies, it would be fair to assume he has had more than his share of ill health. But for Isaiah Cox, no one could imagine the next health crisis that would keep him in the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong PICU for more than a month over the 2004 holiday season.

That crisis came in the form of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a type of toxic epidermic necrolysis (TEN)—a rare condition that causes large portions of the skin’s outermost layer to detach from the layers below. He is one of five Miracle Kids who will be honored by the hospital during its Miracle Weekend celebration June 3-4.

As in Isaiah’s case, TEN typically begins with cold symptoms. After several days of coughing and aching he was seen by Dr. Lesley Glowinsky, his primary care pediatrician. She diagnosed pneumonia and sent him by ambulance from her Brighton office at Rainbow Pediatrics to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Later that day Isaiah was stable and discharged, but two days later he developed a blistering rash that made his doctors consider the possibility that he was suffering with a pneumonia related to the chicken pox virus. He was admitted to the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong to start therapy. Within several days his blistering rash became much worse. Ultimately he was diagnosed with micro-plasma pneumonia in combination with the rare Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

Patients with TEN are typically treated in burn units because of the extensive skin damage and risk of infection it causes. At Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, Isaiah was treated in the PICU by the medical director of burn surgery, Dr. Christopher Lentz. Isaiah benefitted from both the resources and expertise of the burn specialists at the Strong Memorial Hospital Burn Trauma Unit and the pediatric intensive care specialists.

Although Dr. Lentz said there is no definitive explanation for what caused TEN in Isaiah, the young boy ultimately survived this devastating and life-threatening condition. Now age 10, he has returned to fourth grade in the French Road Elementary School. “He is a very strong and brave boy,” said Dr. Glowinsky.

Isaiah’s mother, Elease Cox, believes that the quick response of the doctors at Rainbow Pediatrics, the power of prayer, the support of family, and the team at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong are all responsible for her son’s survival. “Isaiah’s dad, his grandparents and many relatives were at Isaiah’s side. He’s so strong; he tried to make us feel better,” she said. “There are no adequate words of appreciation for the genuineness of the doctors and nurses. And the new PICU is incredible. The nurses are stationed so they can oversee your child 24 hours a day. Some went above and beyond the call of duty for Isaiah. I knew that they looked out for my child and comforted him just as I would.”

Isaiah’s earlier experience with ALL has kept him coming back to Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong for follow-up visits with pediatric hematologist-oncologist Dr. Andrea Hinkle. A cancer of the white blood cells, ALL required that Isaiah endure an arduous chemotherapy regimen in 1996 and even more aggressive treatment in 2000 when he relapsed. Today he is in remission.

“Despite the uphill battles Isaiah has faced throughout his life, and this most recent crisis, he remains forward-looking and even-keeled,” said Dr. Hinkle. “He’s a very likeable kid.”

Miracle Weekend celebration

Miracle Weekend is always one of the most exciting times of the year for Golisano Children’s Hospital. It includes two major events.

The Golisano Children’s Hospital Telethon will be broadcast live from the hospital on 10NBC June 3 and June 4. In addition, Miracle Weekend always includes the Stroll for Strong Kids, to be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at Genesee Valley Park. Children’s activities and registration will begin at 9 a.m. When finished with their “Stroll,” walkers will be treated to a free lunch. There will be music by Gary the Happy Pirate, and many fun activities for the kids.

Participants are asked to raise money through sponsorship pledges from family members, friends and co-workers. Prizes will be awarded to the top fund-raisers. The event is expected to draw 2,000 and raise $200,000. Pre-registration is required by Thursday, May 26. To register for the Stroll for Strong Kids, or learn more about any Miracle Weekend event, call 585-273-5948 or visit

In addition to honoring children such as Isaiah, Miracle Weekend allows the hospital to raise funds that provide needed equipment for the children it serves, and items that make their stay a little easier.

Money raised will be used by Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong to buy equipment, such as preemie blood-pressure cuffs, and supplies, such as IV pole wagons, videos and games, and sleeper chairs so parents have a comfortable place to rest when they stay with their children.

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