Just a couple years ago, a Rock Valley family had to drive hours for medical care on a regular basis. But now their three-year-old girl can get all the help she needs in Sioux Falls, thanks to an increase in the number of specialists.
Three-year-old Sarah Sinke makes the most out of her time in the hospital. After all, she's spent more time here than many will in a lifetime.
"It helps us too. If she were to be colicky or cranky, just being able to walk into her room and see her smile and say, 'Hi Mommy.' It makes a big difference," mother Andrea Sinke said.
Sarah was born with VACTERL Association, a rare condition made up of a group of birth defects. She's been through seven surgeries, ranging from open heart to spinal surgery. If that isn't enough, the Rock Valley girl recently almost died from RSV, and now has been diagnosed with cancer.
"You don't take the little and normal things for granted anymore. When she comes home, that's a celebration; just to be at home is what we need," father James Sinke said.
Now it's easier for the family to spend time at home. With an increase in the number of specialists at Sanford Children's, Sarah can now get all her medical care in Sioux Falls, rather than traveling for hours.
"We have three other children. So, for them to be able to just take an hour after school, take the drive, and be here for supper with Sarah and I and be able to go back home and be in bed on time is a lot easier than trying to plan a whole weekend," Andrea said.
Along with an increase in specialists, Sanford Children's will soon have 40 sub-specialists. The hospital is working to recruit even more.
"Our vision of what we want to be at Children's Hospital is a tertiary referral care center for children," Sanford Medical Center VP Debra Leners said.
While the Sinkes are thankful to have a hospital so close to home, they're also looking to turn a new page and spend even more time at home.
"What I hope and pray for is more of what she is. She is already a happy, wonderful, smart, sometimes too smart for her own good, little girl," James said.
Sarah is one of several inspiring children we're introducing you to this week leading up to this year's CMN Special. You can watch the hour-long broadcast at 7 p.m. on KELO TV.
To help make miracles happen for more children throughout the region, simply click on the links below.
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