Grateful Patient Stories

LifeBridge Health centers are the "facilities of choice" for quality patient health care for the residents of the Baltimore area and surrounding communities. More than 10,000 LifeBridge Health physicians, nurses and staff members dedicate their professional lives to making a difference - one patient, one child, one family at a time. Meet our grateful patients and hear their stories of determination, survival and hope.

"Why We Give" - Meet the Sam Chee Family!

Sam Chee Family

When Amber and Mark Sam Chee thought about the day their first child would be born, they could not have imagined it would turn out as it did. Amber’s OB was in Silver Spring, and she planned to deliver at Holy Cross, as that’s where her physician practiced. But things took a different turn, and they ended up the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sinai Hospital.

How did you end up becoming acquainted with Sinai’s NICU?  Amber: It was by chance, not our decision. I was working in Westminster, in Carroll County, and I stepped out of the car and found bleeding. My doctor said to go to the nearest hospital, which was Carroll Hospital, and with an hour of arrival, I had an emergency C-section due to placental abruption. Our daughter Alana was born at 31 weeks and four days. Within 20 minutes after delivery, Dr. Susan Kim showed up from Sinai with an incubator and rushed Alana off to the Level III NICU at Sinai. Mark: It was emotional enough for us that she had to be delivered so early. And then, for Amber not to be able to go with her to Sinai brought an added level of emotion. So I went to Sinai to be with Alana while Amber stayed back with her parents. Then, two days later, Amber was discharged, and I took her right over to Sinai, where we would spend the next three-plus weeks.

What motivated you to make a gift to Sinai’s NICU Campaign?  Amber and Mark: We believe in our hearts that Alana has flourished – she is advanced physically and educationally – because of the care she received at the very beginning of her life. She is five years old now and is in Kindergarten but already doing 1st-grade Math and English. She’s been riding her bicycle without training wheels since she was 3 ½ and already rides a hoverboard. The care she received in the NICU was amazing. They kept us involved from the first moment she got there. Stephanie in the NICU could tell we were first-time parents who had no idea what to expect, and she was more than empathetic. Nurse Marie gave us a preemie app to record milestones. They embraced us like family from Day 1. They prepared us to be parents in a way we probably wouldn’t have been otherwise. If we hadn’t ended up at Sinai’s NICU, we wouldn’t have had as much coaching – they were there for her first bath, coaching on breastfeeding, and more. The nurses and doctors had prepared us for her being there through her original due date, which would have been another eight-plus weeks; she did so well that they kept moving up her date to come home. In the three-plus weeks we spent at “Hotel Sinai,” we bonded in the overnight stay rooms and built friendships with the staff who became part of our family. The least we could do for all they did for us was to give back to them.

As a tradition, we visit every year for Alana’s birthday. We stopped by the last two years and delivered lunch for the NICU staff working that day. When we learned about the NICU being expanded and renovated for the first time in 40 years, we wanted to be a part of it somehow. We initially decided to give for a tile on the NICU Patchwork of Love Wall so that Alana could come back and see the photo of our family with the tile dedicated to her getting her start here. Then we said, you know what, we can do more. We had the opportunity, so we named one of the patient bays/rooms to show our appreciation and gratitude for the nurses and doctors in Sinai’s NICU. If not for them, Alana would not be doing as wonderfully as she is. It’s a legacy to Alana and our gratitude.

Why do you feel it’s important to give?  Amber and Mark: When deciding where to give, we’ve struggled to find organizations that we believe in, where we know where the money is truly going. Deciding to donate here was super easy – we have a special bond with the place and the people that were Alana’s first home. They are part of our extended family. Everyone in the NICU remembers our names. We’ve left an impact on them, and they on us.The transformation of the space is amazing, from the NICU built 40 years ago to what it is today, in 2021.

Why Board Member Noah Kodeck Gives Back

Sam Chee Family

Recently my mother, Frada, the matriarch of our family, celebrated a milestone birthday. Upon reflecting on her life and what she would want us to do to celebrate her, only one thing came to mind that mattered: Give back to Sinai Hospital! More specifically, the Adam Michael Kodeck Fund at The Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai, which our family established. Like me and my two other brothers, Ari and Josh, Adam was born at Sinai. Tragically he passed away at Sinai in 1976. The Adam Michael Kodeck Fund was started shortly thereafter as a way to keep his legacy alive and give back to a hospital that had given our family so much.

My mother graduated from Sinai’s School of Nursing in 1967 as a registered nurse; almost 55 years later, she is still a nurse and still living her passion.

Our history with Sinai is a long and enduring one. I couldn’t begin to convey the importance this world-class facility has played in all of our lives and continues to do so today. So I’ll make sure I keep talking about Sinai and why community hospitals are more important than ever.

I have seen firsthand the tireless work of the staff, from janitorial services to aides, to the nurses and doctors, techs, transport teams, cafeteria employees, and everyone in between. It is always a reminder that it takes a village to care for our community, and what a lucky community we are indeed. What a difference all those people make in the lives of others. And like my mother, these people live their passion for caring for others every single day. Our family will continue to support those who give so much of themselves to care for others.

16-Year Old Jack Kelly's Remarkable Lifelong Journey with the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics (RIAO)

Sam Chee Family

What brought you to the RIAO?  The first time my parents visited the RIAO, Dr. Herzenberg and his team reassured them that my case was "business as usual" for them. They had seen and treated many, many kids with my diagnosis. My parents felt so comfortable knowing how experienced Dr. Herzenberg and his team were with lengthening and reconstruction in pediatric patients. I had my first lengthening when I was 2 years old!

How did your parents find out about the RIAO?  After I was born and my parents received my diagnosis, they began researching treatment options for me. They kept hearing about the RIAO over and over, from my orthopedist in New York City, other parents of kids with Fibular Hemimelia, and internet searches. I was treated initially in New York City, and then my parents brought me to the RIAO when I was 6 months old. Were there a lot of changes for you and your family during your 16-years of treatment? So many things changed for my family in the 16-years I was treated at the RIAO. Our family grew when we moved from Jersey City to a small town in Connecticut. There were many advances in how lengthening was handled at the RIAO during this time as well (no more pin care!).

What was particularly trying during this 16-year period for you and your family?  Relearning how to walk over and over again after surgery and lengthening was particularly hard. Also, the emotional strain of traveling and multiple procedures.

What was particularly special about the care you received?  The relationships that I have with Dr. Herzenberg and his team made my experience special. They never treated me as just a project, but always as a person. They never stopped helping me.

What most excites you about the future?  I am excited about being able to function in a more “normal” way. I am looking forward to going to college next year to study drum set performance, something I would not have been able to do without my treatment.

Save-A-Limb Fund Donations Help RIAO Treat Rare Deformity in Polish Infant

Sam Chee Family

Dominik Eljasinski calls the treatment his son received at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics (RIAO) "the best gift in my whole entire life." The exceptional work at the RIAO meant that this past Christmas, Kacper could finally play with toys like other children.

Kacper Eljasinski was born in Poland in June of 2020 with a club hand and a thumb that did not work. Polish doctors told the family that nothing could be done to fix his hand. But the family did not give up hope. They found the RIAO at Sinai Hospital, and spent five months on the other side of the world for their son to receive treatment. While the Eljasinski's did an incredible job raising funds needed to get Kacper the care he needed, they also received donations from the RIAO Save-A-Limb Fund to support their months-long stay at the Hackerman-Patz House at Sinai, which became their home while in Baltimore.

Dr. Shawn Standard from the RIAO spoke with WJZ-TV about the life-changing procedures he performed to help this remarkable 16-month-old boy from Poland.

You can watch the interview here.


Past Patient Stories
Cesar Munoz

Cesar Munoz's Grateful Patient Story
Cesar Munoz was 7 years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. After a fall on the field at school, his parents took him to the doctor fearing he had broken his leg. Instead, his diagnosis was cancer. His doctor suggested they seek treatment at The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. Both his parents spoke little English, so his older brother, Wesley – 11 at the time took over the scheduling of the appointments and talking with the doctors along with a medical interpreter.
Read more about Cesar Munoz's story

Sadie Wetheral

Sadie Wetheral's Grateful Patient Story
What started out as a simple fall in gym class forever changed the Wetheral family’s life. When Sadie’s bump wouldn’t heal, the doctor’s ordered more tests. Then came the diagnosis – Osteosarcoma – a tumor on the femur bone. This 8 year-old girl with a huge smile on her face was about to start a long year of treatments and uncertainty, and at the end of it that smile still remains, stronger than ever.
Read more about Sadie Wetheral's story

Sammie Cohen

Sammie Cohen's Grateful Patient Story
“Stronger than Sickle Cell” This is the slogan of Samantha Cohen’s new Foundation she and two friends started in the summer of 2013. They want to help get the word out about sickle cell disease and help those who suffer from this illness. Diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was a baby, “Sammie” as her mother, Kelleye, calls her has grown into a strong, compassionate, positive young woman with such effervescence for life. Her smile brings sunshine to any room.
Read more about Sammie Cohen's story

Herbert Hare

Herbert Hare's Grateful Patient Story
The pain was agonizing; I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t even sit or sleep. My wife, Carolyn, and I visited doctor after doctor and finally by the grace of God we ended up at Northwest Hospital. Dr. Ian Weiner, Orthopedic Surgeon and Dr. Norbert Zemankiewicz, Vascular Surgeon, took one look at my foot and immediately rushed me into emergency surgery to clean out the infection.
Read more about Herbert Hare's story

Jerry Morris

Jerry Morris' Grateful Patient Story
The morning of October 2nd I was on my way to work but I had a strange headache unlike any headache I’ve had before. I decided to leave work early and go home to rest. When I woke from my nap my mouth felt tingly and numb, a few minutes later my hand started to contort in a weird way and then my legs gave out on me. At that point, it dawned on me; oh my God I am having a stroke!
Read more about Jerry Morris' story

Adele and Frank Grayman's Story

Adele and Frank Grayman's Grateful Patient Story
My name is Adele Grayman and my husband, Frank Grayman, is a resident of Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital. It’s hard to imagine that Frank was once an original draftsman who drew building plans for bridges in Vermont, all by hand, no computers, can you imagine? I remember the day everything changed it was like yesterday. It was a windy day, Frank said “I am going for a walk.” I was waiting for him to come back but still no Frank; hour after hour passed.
Read more about Adele and Frank Grayman's story