Meet Our Patients :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Meet Our Patients

Owen's Story

Owen BirkShortly after Owen's birth we began to notice that what we were reading in our "baby guidebooks" was nowhere near what we were experiencing with Owen. We endured seemingly endless rounds of high-pitched screaming with no source of comfort.  Head control never came, nor did sitting, crawling, or putting any weight on his legs.  At seven months of age Owen began to seize, countless uncontrollable seizures, which became his first of what would become hundreds of hospitalizations.  

Owen was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation called polymicrogyria, and shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with a terminal variant of mitochondrial disease.  We were told not to "chase any rainbows" looking for a cure for Owen because there wasn't one, and he wouldn't likely survive past the age of two.  

Today Owen is six years old, plays adapted little league baseball, loves cartoons and books, and is in kindergarten at a local school for children with special needs.  He has a quirky personality and he is a truly joyous child who is unaware that his life is any different than any of the other kids in his classroom.  Currently, Owen relies upon advanced medical technologies for life support such as mechanical ventilation and feeding devices, adaptive mobility and seating equipment, and innovative therapy services.  

He is alive and thriving today because of the experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and because we refuse to accept that there aren't rainbows to be chased.  Since starting the Palliative Care Program, Owen has not been hospitalized in over a year. We are so thankful for programs like this that help us - as a family unit - manage the burdens that accompany terminal illness so that we can stay focused on creating memories and beautiful life experiences together outside of the constraints of the hospital environment. Owen is proof that miracles happen and that there is always hope even when a cure is beyond reach.

Contact Information

Inpatient Palliative Care (Advanced Illness Management)

Phone: (614) 722-3710

Home-Based Palliative Care

Phone: (614) 355-1100

Fax: (614) 355-1182

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000