Grandparents do all they can to help granddaughter
A Washington grandmother and grandfather have watched their granddaughter battle life-threatening illnesses and surgeries since she was 7 months old. Juliana Quickel, the granddaughter of Dean and Connie Duwa of Washington, is now in second grade, and the battles continue.
The Duwas are helping raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America at the Kansas City Takes Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis on Sunday, June 9. The event is dedicated to finding cures for digestive diseases.
“We will enjoy a casual two- to three-mile stroll and raise money for crucial research, bringing us closer to a future free from Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis for patients like Juliana,” said her mother, Julie Quickel.
Julie has written a lengthy account of Juliana’s health and this is a summary of Juliana’s story.
Juliana was 7 months old when she began experiencing frequent illnesses, including bronchitis and an ear infection. By 12 months doctors tested her for celiac’s disease and cystic fibrosis, both of which were negative. However, she had ulcers in her esophagus, inflammation in her stomach and many ulcers throughout her large intestine and rectum. She was placed on a strict diet and had two years she was healthy and free of infections.
Juliana was hospitalized in June of 2009.
“We had no idea how complicated things would become and that she would not get better,” Julie wrote.
Juliana was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. She required multiple blood transfusions and lost weight. She did not respond well to medications. Julie said the family had to make a difficult choice — “a painful decision,” she said, to have her entire colon and rectum removed.
“It saved her life,” Julie said.
But Juliana continued to have a series of medical emergencies. She saw doctors in Kansas City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia before going to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Julie said her daughter continues to battle constant dehydration and weight loss. She has developed osteoporosis and receives infusions for that condition.
“She has had many surgeries and tests,” Julie said. “For the time being, we take one day at a time and feel blessed when she is not in the hospital and can be home. We have been blessed with so much support from family and friends.”
Julie ends Juliana’s story by writing, “Juliana is currently in second grade and loves singing, dancing and the color pink. She dreams of being a nurse and a singer.”
The Duwas are doing all they can to help their granddaughter.