I am finally getting around to updating everyone and thanking you all for helping Cody and us through his operation. I can not say enough wonderful things about the many professionals and friends who have assisted us in this process. Having to allow your six year old child to be anesthetized and operated on is hard enough with out being concerned about whether you are in the right place and if you will be able to afford it. I thank the Lord that I have good medical insurance, and my heart goes out to those who do not.

I would like to brief you all on our year of determination in an attempt to thank those who have helped us, and to inform other families with birthmarks of medical professionals and lay people who could help them.

In March of 2004 we were at our wits end and confused. Cody, my 5 year old son, had a birthmark that had become bloody on his right hand. I happened upon a very dedicated Linda Shannon via the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation’s website, www.birthmark.org. Linda made time to see us and became instrumental in assisting us to get the medical attention we desperately needed for Cody. Linda and Dr. Martin Mihms arranged for us to attend a VBF clinic, where Dr. Miton Waner and a host of doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital were able to review Cody’s condition and recommed a course of treatment. It was decided that the best specialist to remove Cody’s Lymphatic Malformation would be Dr. Joseph Upton in Massachusetts.

At this time I would like to seriously thank all those medical professionals and laypeople that assisted us in our quest to go to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr Mihm, Linda Shannon, and Dr. Waner for the many wonderful hours you all put in to providing those monthly VBF clinics to those of us who need the answers to our many questions.

Dr James Saperstone and his entire office of very patient professionals at Guilderland Pediatrics, that took my many calls, sent referrals and helped us get to Boston for the surgery.

Dr. Edwin Williams and his caring staff that took my call the day Cody’s hand kept bleeding, made time to see us and found us a local plastic surgeon that specializes in hand surgery.

Dr. Jerome Chao, of Albany Plastic Surgeons, who evaluated Cody’s condition and assisted us in our quest to have Dr Upton perform the surgery in Boston. Dr. Chao not only helped us get to see Dr. Upton, but followed up with us once arrangements were made to have the surgery in Boston.

Dr. Joseph Upton, his staff and the staff at Boston’s Children’s Hospital for all of their help and attentive care for Cody and our family.

Capital District Physician’s Health Plan for changing their original determination of “Out of Network” to “In Network” coverage that allowed us to have the proceedure done in Boston.

As you can see by the before and after photos, Cody’s hand is healing quite nicely. It is amazing the changes we see in Cody. And yes, Cody can now wear a baseball glove on his right hand and throw left handed.

Thank you all for your prayers and patience. Thank you again for the wonderful and generous donations you made to the VBF in 2004. Once again, May 15, 2005 has been designated Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day. As I count my blessings for all the good things that have happened since I first discovered the VBF, I am reminded of the faces of the other families that attended the clinic with us in August. I remember, thinking then that some of them would not have had the resources to have gotten to see Dr. Waner with out those clinics. I also think of people who have never heard of the VBF and are experiencing the same heartache and confusion we faced last March.

It is my hope that the contents of this letter reaches them somehow and they, also can be helped by the VBF. I will again be accepting donations for this much needed foundation to stay alive. Those of you that would like to donate directly to the VBF, can visit their website www.birthmark.org and donate accordingly. Feel free to tell them Cody Chase sent you.

Thank you again and God bless you,
Lianne, Kevin Cody and Casey Chase