Sometimes in the public relations world, we are lucky enough to be involved with a story or a person who is truly inspiring; we are given the opportunity to share this moving story with the media in hopes that it will touch others as well. In February, our team was able to work with Justin Ith, a patient at the Franciscan Hospital for Children. Justin is a 16-year-old whose life was flipped upside down a year ago when he collapsed in his bathroom after weeks of feeling sick. He was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital where he underwent testing and treatments, and was finally diagnosed with acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN) syndrome, a rare and debilitating disease that left him unable to walk, talk or breathe on his own. When he was stable, he was transferred to Franciscan Hospital for Children to begin his rehabilitation process. With the help of his team at Franciscan and his family, and against all the odds, Justin worked hard every day towards recovery.
On February 5th, Justin Ith walked out of the Franciscan Hospital for Children as his doctors, family and local media cheered him on. The moment Justin had been waiting for had finally come after a year of incredible challenges: he was going home–and he was walking again. The day was bittersweet for Justin, however, because his team at Franciscan had become like family. Many tears were shed as Justin bid goodbye to the people that he says saved his life and helped him recover. As he left, he told local media that his hope is to go to school to be a child life specialist, so he can pay it forward and help kids like his team at Franciscan helped him.
Justin’s inspiring story was featured on WHDH, WCVB, CBS and on BostonHerald.com in the days following his departure. His strength and determination in the face of so many difficulties captured the attention – and hearts – of many who saw his story. It was an honor to be a part of this, and both the Franciscan team and the Regan team know that Justin has great things in his future.