July 18, 2013

Family keeps daughter’s memory alive by donating to Children’s Hospital

Submitted by Erlanger Health System

— Founders of the Christian Bryant Foundation recently visited T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga after providing much needed assistance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Christian’s parents, Robyn and Chris of Dalton, along with sister Bailey Bryant stopped by Children’s Hospital to visit some of the staff who cared for their daughter during her fight against cancer and talk to family members who are benefiting from the foundation’s donations.

In the summer of 2011, Girls Preparatory School senior and cross county athlete Christian was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She and her family spent many days at the hospital through testing and chemotherapy treatments as Christian fought to stay well and make it through remission. Sadly, Christian passed away less than a year later. But, thanks to her family, her legacy still lives on.

Through the overwhelming hours in the PICU, the family realized Children’s Hospital had a need. Something that would seem so minuscule to others would truly make a difference during a family’s stay. After forming the foundation, the family was determined to raise money to purchase new chairs for the waiting room and private rooms in PICU. Eleven chairs were delivered and ever since have made a dramatic difference to other families who hold bedside vigils for their seriously sick or injured child.

The chairs were a welcome sight to Suzy Davis, a grandmother of a patient, who met Robyn Bryant during her visit.

“It sounds so silly to be so excited over a chair, but when you have been sitting or standing for so long it is just nice to lay back and stretch out,” said Davis. “I am touched they have turned their pain into something for other people. It is the epitome of who they are. My heart goes out to them.”

The last stop for the Bryant family during their visit to Children’s Hospital was the Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Center where they talked with staff and other family members.

The Christian Bryant Foundation donation of $6,000 to the center was made possible by a gift from the Girls Preparatory School/McCallie School Mission/Remission event. Their fundraising efforts will offer patients the opportunity to participate in a research study led by the Children’s Oncology Group.

“Neuropsychological, social, emotional and behavioral difficulties are common in children and adolescents after diagnosis with cancer,” said Robyn Bryant. “These problems are caused by both the stress of battling cancer and direct effects from the necessary but aggressive treatments, and frequently inhibit patients’ coping, school performance, peer relationships and ability to achieve their overall long-term potential.”

The research study, sponsored by the Christian Bryant Foundation, will allow patients to receive, free of charge, testing for the difficulties at three different times during their care at Children’s Hospital.

“This systematic evaluation has the potential to identify problems earlier and direct patients to specific services for the help they need before a crisis occurs,” added Robyn Bryant. “This type of testing is not generally reimbursed by health insurance companies and would not be available to most regional patients without this research study. The Christian Bryant Foundation is pleased to be able to support this critical research project. I know Christian would be pleased with this project and the fact that it will help children locally.”

Children’s Hospital representatives are extremely grateful for the Bryants’ generosity to provide support to the hospital’s departments and the families whose loved ones are treated there. The memory of Christian will remain forever on the forefront as they continue to care for children who fight for their life every day.

For more information, visit www.thechristianbryantfoundation.com.