February 23, 2007

Book tracks child’s treatment journey

Featured Image

Nathan Stickles shows off the Children’s Hospital book in which he starred. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Book tracks child’s treatment journey

Nathan Stickles, 8, is the star of his very own children's book, “Nathan's Special Heart,” written by Jessica Ennis, publications editor for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and illustrated by John Howell.

On Valentine's Day, Stickles, an energetic redhead, brought copies of the book to patients and families in the Pediatric Cardiac Clinic. Nathan's cardiologist, Tom Doyle, M.D., is also featured in the book and took time out to congratulate Nathan and to receive a signed copy from Nathan.

“It was fun for us to watch the parents of some of the patients react when they saw Nathan and his book,” said Bryan Stickles, Nathan's father. “One woman had just brought her baby in for a checkup for the same type of heart defect Nathan had, and said she was amazed to see how good Nathan looked, and that it made her feel better to know he recovered well.”

“Nathan's Special Heart” is a children's book, tracking Nathan's journey as he experienced a new minimally invasive surgery to treat a one-inch hole in his heart. The book also contains a bookmark with the annual financial report information for Children's Hospital and also serves as the hospital's annual report. It is being mailed to 8,500 friends and supporters of the hospital.

In the book, Nathan's parents learn there is a hole in their son's heart when Nathan is just 6 months old. The story follows Nathan through his journey to the Children's Hospital to have a procedure to close the hole at age 7, and through his recovery, explaining that he is now able to enjoy his favorite activities, like climbing trees and mock sword-fighting with his younger brother.

Heart defects are among the most common birth defects, affecting about one in every 100 babies at birth. Fortunately, the defects are now routinely discovered and repaired early and with great success. Children's Hospital is a Center of Excellence in the research and repair of congenital heart defects.

“Nathan's Special Heart” is available for purchase in the Friends Gift Shop at Children's Hospital.