Guest posting today is our own Emily Pearce, associate director of the Vanderbilt News Service, on her remarkable experience over the last several weeks:
Sometimes you cover a story that, well, quite frankly, just gets to you. That’s what happened when I met Amenah, an Iraqi child whose journey for life led her to the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She arrived near death. And, yet, she was smiling. She was always smiling. She liked to blow kisses. One day she looked at me and said her first American word, “hello”. That did it for me. I had crossed over from objectivity to caring deeply what happened to this two-year-old from Haditha, Iraq. She just had to make it through complicated open-heart surgery. Videographer Pat Slattery and I followed Amenah’s story for weeks, including being the only crew shooting surgery day. And, thanks to an amazing group of doctors and nurses, Amenah left Vanderbilt with a ‘happier heart’. I hope you get to know Amenah in our story in the latest VUCast for the week of March 16th. We will be doing a long-form piece on Amenah’s journey also. Be prepared to smile, care and, possibly cry when you meet Amenah. Oh, yes, her mother wants her to “fix hearts” and be a doctor or nurse one day. Who knows, maybe she will go to medical school at Vanderbilt.