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"Make-a-Wish Sends Patient to Ohio State Game"


On Saturday, Sept. 11, a longtime Mercy Children's Hospital patient, Kellen K. had his dream come true. Fifteen-year-old Kellen, along with his parents, two sisters and Donna Ruedisueli, Director of Pediatrics, Mercy Children's Hospital, traveled to watch the Buckeyes take on the Miami Hurricanes. Kellen, who had been a patient in the Pediatric ICU for several months as he was fighting leukemia, was a lifelong OSU fan.

According to Ruedisueli, there were moments when the medical team wasnt sure if Kellen could physically withstand the travel, but on Thursday, Sept. 9, it was confirmed that Kellen could go as long as he had a nurse to accompany him. Ruedisueli says that thanks to the amazing nurses on pediatrics who ensured that she had all of the medical supplies to keep Kellen comfortable and the oversight from Dr. Rama Jasty, pediatric oncologist, Kellen was finally able to meet his heroes.

It was beyond description, says Ruedisueli. I was honored to escort this family to the game. To be able to help Kellen make his wish come true and be there as support for him and his family was a humbling experience. As a lifelong Michigan fan, I even wore Ohio State colors and sported an OSU tattoo placed on my face by Kellens sister. The day was about Kellen.

It was a huge effort for him to go, but as it always was with Kellen, he was a trouper. Despite him not feeling well, he smiled and was excited the entire time.

While Kellen wasnt able to stay for the entire game, he was able to greet many members of the team and have a conversation with OSU coach Jim Tressel, who presented Kellen with an OSU baseball cap and an Ohio State medal. He also visited with Ohio State wide receiver and Central Catholic High school graduate Dane Sanzenbacher, who Kellen had met during the previous summer. Kellen was wheeled on the OSU team stretcher by local paramedics and Ruedisueli to the end zone to watch the kick off.

I was amazed at everyones reaction to Kellen. The players came by to say hello to him, giving him high fives and signing the cap. He shared a special moment with Dane, who was obviously thrilled to see him at the game. Unfortunately, Kellen became too tired to stay for the game, but he was able to meet Coach Tressel and many of the players, so his wish did come true.

Kellen first came to Mercy Childrens in the summer of 2009 for treatment of pre-b cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He passed away on Sept. 26 at Mercy Childrens in his room that was decorated with Ohio State memorabilia.

Kellen was just an awesome young man, always smiling and even cracking jokes up until his last day. He was just the best kid you could ever meet. Every nurse and physician caring for Kellen during his stay were touched by the strength and courage of Kellen and his amazing family.

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