Highlighting UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital's life-saving work

On this Giving Tuesday we’re highlighting the life-saving care provided by UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

Elizabeth and Joshua Jones of Eureka are first time parents. Their baby, nine-month old baby, Anthony, has only ever known the inside of the NICU at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. It’s where he's had his first milestones, where he plays, and has story time.

"His favorite book right now is just keep swimming," Elizabeth said. "He looks at the pages like he's trying to read."

Anthony was born nine weeks early and had trouble breathing. He was transferred from a hospital in Eureka to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and was intubated for the first three months of his life.

"When he was born he was one pound 15.5 ounces, so he was technically the size of a 24 weeker," Elizabeth said. "He was very, very small for a gestational age."

Joshua said it was a shock to their family.

"Nobody outside the medical field really prepares themselves for when a baby is this sick," he said.

Doctors determined Anthony has bronchopulmonary dysplasia or "BPD," a chronic lung disease that results from a newborn's lungs not fully developing if they're born premature. He also has "floppy airways." Anthony now has a trach tube, which allows him to move freely like other infants his age.

"He loves sleeping with his arms above his head, which is something he wasn't able to do for a long time…seeing that is amazing," Elizabeth said.

Also amazing, the Jones family is staying across the street from the hospital in the Family House free of charge thanks to donations to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. It allows them to be by their son's side at all times, instead of traveling back and forth from Eureka.

"It's a blessing," Joshua said. "I can't imagine how we would have been able to make this happen without the Family House."

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The parents are practicing how to care for Anthony when he's allowed to go home. He’ll need 24/7 care until his trach can be removed, which is scheduled to happen shortly after Anthony’s second birthday. Josh and Elizabeth said their outlook for Anthony's future has changed thanks to doctors and staff.

"They’re pretty much taking the fear of losing our child and replacing it with, he's going to be okay," she said.

"You never know if this is going to happen to you," Joshua said. "This is the best hospital in the country and being able to stay close to our son, it's irreplaceable."

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is a not-for-profit institution committed to providing the highest quality care to all kids, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. More than 70% of patients are uninsured or underinsured. Donations help to guarantee that they can continue to serve all children, not just those that can afford it. These critical funds help ensure that no family is turned away due to inability to pay.

To donate: Click here OR text "KTVU" to 51555 to make your gift.