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Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to honor Rhettec Galaska, 11, of Greenville, at the 32nd annual Celebration Broadcast

June 01, 2017 by Beth Anne Atkins

GREENVILLE, N.C. - - It started with difficulty breathing and a “sinus infection” that would not clear up. Then, within days, Rhettec Galaska, 11, of Pitt County had a swollen neck that sent the family to the doctor’s office. When the doctor took more than an hour to return after seeing their son, parents Jeff and Tommi Galaska knew something was wrong.

Doctors removed a lymph node to determine the cause of the swelling, and in February 2014 they received the devastating news that their son, then only 8 years old, had T-cell, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 
What followed was a terrifying situation for Rhettec’s family, as they watched their son fight this aggressive cancer. They were racing against time, since this type of cancer becomes even more dangerous if it spreads to the bone.

Rhettec underwent two rounds of powerful chemotherapy treatments that left him weak, and barely able to stand. Throughout his illness, they had the caring support of the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center (VMC). He improved, became stronger, and today has almost fully recovered. Physical therapy is helping him regain strength, and he’s back at school with his friends. He’s a sports fan who loves baseball so much that the East Carolina University baseball team made him an honorary member.

Rhettec’s recovery was made possible by life-saving care at VMC. Thanks to the generosity of eastern North Carolina, thousands of children receive the specialized medical care they need, bringing them, and their families, the gift of hope and healing. Because of the region’s unwavering support, these patients have access to the best possible care. 

This year’s Celebration Broadcast will be held on June 2 and 4, and will recognize the brave children and families who endured serious illness with heart and courage. The broadcast is aired by longtime partner, WITN and will celebrate these courageous kids and the thousands of children in eastern North Carolina who have received treatment at Maynard Children’s Hospital.

The 2017 miracle children’s stories highlight just a few examples of the amazing care offered every day at Maynard Children’s Hospital. Their stories show the difference gifts can make. In addition to Rhettec, this year’s Miracle Children include Wyatt Garab, 7, of Richlands in Onslow County; Sierra Scott, 13, of Williamston in Martin County; Braxton Manning, 1, of Havelock in Craven County; and Jeremiah Seaberry, 11, of Dudley in Wayne County.

“Those were some of our roughest times,” Rhettec’s mom, Tommi, said. “I was afraid he was going to give up. He was weary. He lost a tremendous amount of weight. His legs diminished to nothing, and he could barely walk. I carried him on my back for the longest time. I was afraid that if he slipped, he would break his bones.”

Tommi is grateful for the medical treatment – and kindness – the family experienced at Maynard Children’s Hospital.

“His care was tremendous, on every level,” she said. “You are greeted when you walk in, and the staff become your family. You’re devastated and thrown into a world you know nothing about. They are there not only for your child, but for your whole family.”

These days, although their son has largely recovered, they know they can call on the staff at Maynard Children’s Hospital if needed.

“The children’s hospital healed Rhettec and healed my family,” she said. “Even now, if I have a question I can call,” she says. “They continue to help us always. It’s amazing.”
______________________________________________________________________________
32nd ANNUAL CHILDREN’S MIRACLE NETWORK
CELEBRATION BROADCAST
Televised on WITN
8 - 11:30 p.m. – June 2
7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. – June 4

Call 252-847-5437 or 1-800-673-5437 or visit www.foundation.vidanthealth.com for more information.

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