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Jarrett's Story (Lettie Brown)

Jarrett Polk is the fourth child of Matt and Barbara Polk of Morton. He has 3 older siblings, Connor, Hailey and Makenna, and one younger brother, Landon. Jarrett was a high risk pregnancy and therefore was followed by Perinatologists at the OSF Maternal Fetal Diagnosis Center. Perinatologists at OSF discovered Jarrett had Congenital Heart Defect before he was born. This resulted in a EKG of his heart in utero and the need to have the NICU team present at his delivery. Jarrett was followed by pediatric cardiologists at OSF Children’s Hospital before he was delivered. Jarrett was born on December 5th, 2011 only 15 minutes after his parents arrived at OSF Labor and Delivery. He was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit due to the hole in his heart and quick delivery. The NICU found Jarrett was born with an infection and while in the NICU he received his second EKG. The Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center worked with the Polks to ensure the hole in Jarrett’s heart was treated. Jarrett was born with an Atrial septal defect (ASD). In this condition, there is a hole between the 2 upper chambers of the heart (the right and left atria). This causes an abnormal blood flow through the heart. He also had a Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) which is a persistent opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart. The opening (ductus arteriosus) is a normal part of a baby's circulatory system in the womb that usually closes shortly after birth. When Jarrett's remained open after birth, he was diagnosed with a patent ductus arteriosus. A patent ductus arteriosus left untreated can allow poorly oxygenated blood to flow in the wrong direction, weakening the heart muscle and causing heart failure and other complications. Thanks to the wonderful doctors at the Congenital Heart Center and God's grace, the hole in Jarrett's heart shrunk and he no longer has to visit on a yearly basis. Although surgery wasn’t needed, Jarrett remains a patient of The Congenital Heart Center at OSF with the plan to return for a checkup when he turns 12 to ensure his heart remains healthy. We appreciate OSF is very dedicated to patient care and transitions. This approach is very similar to what the Heller Center for Kids with Cancer does and another reason we are so very honored to assist in the fundraising for OSF Gameball Run again this year. When Jarrett was 2 and a half years old, his mother noticed signs of high blood sugar, contacted the doctor's office, and Jarrett was rushed to the OSF Emergency Room. Jarrett was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and given an insulin drip. He was later moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where he was given initial medical treatment to help Jarrett and his family manage his Type 1 Diabetes, a condition where his pancreas no longer produced enough insulin to regulate blood sugars. The family is actively involved with advocating for a cure through Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and works closely with the Children’s Hospital Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center team to maintain blood sugars and to keep up to date with new advances and technology. Type 1 Diabetes is a medical condition which has no cure. This means that every day, Jarrett in partnership with his parents must treat low blood sugars by eating 15 grams of carbohydrates. These low blood sugars can occur any time of the day or night, but often happen after extreme physical exercise. Therefore, The Polk family is very thankful to Morton 709 teachers, administrators and school nursing staff who partner with Jarrett to monitor his low and high blood sugars. Having type 1 diabetes means Jarrett lives each day with an insulin pump that acts as his pancreas. He must either use a Continuous Glucose Monitor on his body or multiple finger sticks to monitor his blood glucose readings. Type 1 is a heredity condition which is often passed down from family members. Jarrett's dad had Type 1 since he was 3 and later received a lifesaving kidney and pancreas transplant at OSF St Francis in Peoria! Jarrett's sister, Hailey, also has Type 1 so the family is very dedicated to supporting the PDRC and JDRF to help advocate, raise awareness and find a cure! Jarrett is eleven years old and in the 5th grade at Lettie Brown Grade School He loves spending time with his 4 siblings, (Connor, Hailey, Makenna, and Landon), playing with his friends, and competing on the Morton Heat basketball team. He has the kind heart, loves helping others, being with friends and playing with his new puppy Buddy! Jarrett will be a patient of OSF Children's hospital until he is an adult, as he returns to the hospital every 3 months for blood work, appointments and follow ups with the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center. With the assistance of the Children's Hospital of Illinois, Jarrett is and will overcome the obstacles that have been placed in front of him, live life to the fullest, and strive to achieve his goals. Jarrett and his family are very thankful for God’s healing mercy and the Children’s hospital for taking such great care of all five of their children who received services at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois.


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