Sarah's Story


Sarah Vander Meulen often has special visitors during her stays at Children's Hospital: her two big brothers.

Upstate mom Cathy Vander Meulen knows more about Children’s Hospital than almost anyone in our community. Her 2-year-old daughter, Sarah, has spent half her life there.

Sarah was born with a chromosomal deletion, a genetic disorder that causes numerous mental and physical disorders. In her short life, she has been treated by Children’s Hospital’s specialists in cardiology, surgery, neurosurgery, pulmonology and infectious disease. We saw the Vander Meulen family in the middle of a recent stay in early January.

“We spent all of the 2011 holidays in Children’s Hospital with different ailments,” said Cathy. “Most recently, Sarah had been crying a lot, so we brought her in for tests – it turns out that she had a brain infection. We’re fortunate to have a great hospital and people who care for us so close.”

Children’s Hospital nurses and child life staff have spent a lot of time with the family. At Christmas, Sarah received plenty of toys and items to bring her extra joy during their stay, and child life specialists have helped her two brothers understand her illnesses and how treatments will help.

“A great nursing staff makes a huge difference for my daughter and for me – I love having nurses who are attentive and caring,” said Cathy. “By supporting nursing programs, donors to Children’s Hospital make such a big difference in children’s lives.”

Get Involved

If you'd like more information on supporting our pediatric patients and families, contact Philanthropy & Partnership Director of Children's Services Crissy Maynard at (864) 797-7735 or

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