The last elective I did as a medical student was an away rotation with the infectious disease division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was the mid-1990s during the AIDS epidemic. The medications that turned what was a rapid death sentence into a chronic disease were not yet available. Watching someone in one’s care, particularly a child, struggle to stay alive as he or she battled infection after infection or deal with serious medication side effects was humbling and heartbreaking. AIDS specialists, like one of the doctors I was shadowing, pushed hard for their patients–but even their great commitment was not enough. One morning my mentor came in crying. One of her young patients had died battling a painful and aggressive case of shingles. The little girl, whom my mentor had worked with for months, had told my mentor that she was tired–she was tired of fighting her disease. “Is that okay, doctor?” the little girl had reportedly asked. Helping us all remember that children, even those faced with the responsibility of dealing with a serious chronic illness, also have a right to the simple pleasures of life is why we are showing gratitude to Angel Wish today. Focusing on children with HIV/AIDS when it was founded in 1999, and later expanding to included children with other chronic diseases, Angel Wish provides individuals and organizations the opportunity to grant wishes for children. Aglow Dermatology purchased a crafts kit for a teen at Harlem Hospital. What wish would you like to grant? Join us! www.angelwish.org
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