Thriving in 2012: A year in review

2013 is upon us. If you follow popular online conspiracy theories (or happen to be an ancient Mayan) you know this is a great accomplishment; after all, according to many people, the world was supposed to end last week.

And yet, here we are.

But given some of the events of the last month, I’m not as excited to declare victory over the apocalypse as I thought I would be.

The horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has shaken our nation to its core and spurred a polarizing gun-control debate at a time when we should be coming together. A brutal war in Syria and deadly riots in India are making headlines as I type this, proving that humanity may have survived the “end of the world,” but we still have a long way to go before we experience the peace on earth many of us hope for this time of year.

But despite it all, 2012 has shown me that there’s plenty to celebrate. As Boston Children’s Hospital’s resident blogger, I’ve covered a lot of ground this year—from basic parenting advice to exciting new medical research—but almost all of my writing is bound by a common thread: The insurmountable spirit of a child, combined with the unconditional love of a parent, can overcome a lot.

I’ve worked with a lot of Boston Children’s families who embody this message, reminding me that while life isn’t always fair, it is always precious. If 2012 has taught me anything, it’s that celebrating these precious moments, and working hard to create more, is the one thing we can all do to make the world a better place.

Here are just a few of the Thriving stories of the past year that personified that message for me.

Mickey spent the first eight months of his life at Boston Children’s with a serious heart condition, but his parents got to take him home just in time for Christmas. (Talk about putting my Holiday gift list into perspective!) Read Mickey’s got heart.

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Medical students and lab assistants are some of the busiest people at Boston Children’s. That’s why this story about three young Boston Children’s employees taking several hours out of their week to play video games with a teenage patient who missed his friends is so awesome. Read Above and beyond the call of duty.

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Being stuck in the hospital for Halloween sounds like a child’s worst nightmare. But just watch this video to see why (thanks to the tireless efforts of Boston Children’s Child Life Services team), trick-or-treating at the hospital is one of my favorite Boston Children’s events every year.

Read Halloween—Boston Children’s style.

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Dr. Claire has a writing style that makes you feel like you know her. After reading this touching blog she wrote about her father, his sudden death and how he’s managed to help guide her as parent years later, you’ll not only feel closer to Dr. Claire, but her dad as well. Read How a family reunion gave me my father back.

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Alexis was born with a long list of medical conditions, but every time she smiles the only things her mother sees are joy, hope and possibility. Read A is for Alexis.

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Inspired by the care his son received as a Boston Children’s patient, one local National Guardsman now helps organize a toy march to donate presents to current patients. This year the troops met with a hero’s welcome, as well as our photographer. Read Courage comes in all shapes and sizes.

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Boston Children’s doctors aren’t just at the bedside of our patients. Many are also researchers looking for new and innovative treatments to help children all over the world. Logan is one of those kids, and thanks to an exciting new treatment developed at Boston Children’s that gives children replacement heart valves that grow as they do, he’s doing well. Read Giving children a heart valve that can grow with them.

Happy New Year’s Thriving readers, see you in 2013!