Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Michael Helmrath MD/MS
Nominated by Meghan Hall
Dear Dr. Helmrath,
Over the past 8 years, Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation has experienced tremendous growth and service. When asked about our genesis, I personally always have to mention you by name.
8 years ago I remember specifically you telling Jared and myself before Avery’s first post-closure surgery that you were worried not only about Avery now, but his life in 20 and 30 years. I remembered thinking, this surgeon has plans for my child’s life and living in 20 years, like we do. When the second EEG confirmed what we had hoped was not true, you held both of our hands with tears in your own eyes and told us “if this happened every day, I would not be able to do what I do.”
It has been part of my peace, resting in the assurance that you and the team at the time genuinely cared about our son like family. Every caution and every movement was preformed as an act of love and compassion, the way I would have hoped to do if I had the ability (and the legal ability) to do so myself. I do not just believe it, I know beyond a reasonable doubt because of the actions and words you spoke to us during that time. Over the past 8 years, growing from the loss of Avery, these have been some of the most important factors that have helped our more healthy bereavement process. Avery was always cared and loved, in every moment of his life. Every trial and painful procedure he had to endure was overseen with compassion and care.
I also distinctly remember you telling me about how people thought it was strange that you wore pink in college and med school during the emergence of the Breast Cancer awareness movement. I remember your passion and push in that meeting after Avery was buried about the necessity of an organization to help these families and promote awareness. I remember you speaking fervently about your own professional research commitment to these patients. You have never wavered from this, and continue to demonstrate this commitment in your research lab and publications.
Most importantly, we can count on your urgent responses to our families in crisis situations across the nation. When we have a family that presents to us with a critical and chronic case, in this rare disease world, your timely and consistent support provides reliability in a terrifying world with limited answers and often limited expert experience. You provide a beckon of hope for families when they may have thought there was not one.
I have purposely waited for a few years since the start of this award to select you as a recipient. I wanted the award to be associated with distinction so that at the time of recognizing all you have done it would be associated with the greatness I had hoped it would be.
Dr. Helmrath, you are solely responsible for the formation of Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation. Your passion and dedication to Avery during his life, and the passion you had in that first meeting post his death made such a tremendous impact in the necessity of the organization, that it still propels what we do today.
In recognition of the initiator, the catalyst and one of the primary reasons Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation exists, we want to present you as the 2017 recipient of the Avery’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I wish that I could deliver it to you myself. For your continued advocacy, research and exceptional patient care, and your vision that propelled the creation of Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation.
Thank you so much again, and congratulations.
Meghan S. Hall
Michael Helmrath MD/MS of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Helmrath Labs is the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Below are links regarding his work with Stem Cells and Short Bowel Syndrome.