Hello there, we are the Tuberty family. I am Dennis, my wife, Katheryn and I have been married 31 years. We have two daughters, Sarah and Madeline. We enjoy gathering for Sunday dinners and barbecues, family vacations, camping trips, swimming, horseback riding, watching movies and living history outings.
How was your family referred to Shriners and how long has your child been a patient?
We were referred through friends who knew of a Shriner who has previously sponsored a child to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children – Northern California when it was still located in San Francisco.
What is your experience of having a child with a CHD?
Sarah was our first child. She was special from the beginning, strong, bright, and curious and independent. When it came to do tasks for her Sarah always said, “I can do it myself.” After we would show her how to do the task, she was very determined to master these tasks, such as tying her shoes at 4 years old. She would watch her mother do it and then went her room and practiced until she could do it herself.
After we left her alone and she would always find a way to work each task out on her own. We treated her as if she had no disability. We treated her as if she was normal.
Raising Sarah was a cake-walk, my wife and I were concerned on how she would do things, but then she just did them. She was out mucking horse stalls, riding horses English style, and then she started jumping horses. Sarah made it really easy for us. We never really worried about her, took things one day at a time, and supported her in the things she wanted to do. We are proud and amazed at of all the things she accomplished.
How has your child and/or your family adapted to activities?
Sarah’s attitude made all of the difference. We adopted to her as she developed ways to undertake each task. Washing her face, hair, getting dressed, grasping crayons and using both hands to gather up pencils or peas on her plate.
What are things you did not expect in raising a child with a CHD? How did you manage these unexpected things?
We did not expect her attitude, her passion for independence. We followed her lead as how she wanted to be treated.
What would you like new parents of children with CHD to know?
The caregivers, staff members, and surgeon Dr. James were wonderful to our child Sarah and to each of us. They were encouraging and supportive of us every step of the way through multiple surgeries.
As for advice, treat your child as if they are normal, challenge them and encourage them.