You would never know Brittany has traveled so far on a journey to wellness. And, Children’s Village had a great impact on her journey. Today, the vibrant young mom is busy raising her own daughter. But over 20 years ago, Brittany was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. She suffered from hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” a side effect of the tumor. Her mom, Gina, found hope in the form of resource coordinator, Iris Montgomery, through Memorial’s Child Health Services. Iris coordinated Brittney’s first appointment at Seattle Children’s Hospital with the pediatric neurologist. Iris also came to the Coats’ home before that appointment with a map and money for the trip. That appointment proved pivotal for Brittany. “I don’t know what a couple more months of not being diagnosed would have brought,” said her father, Tim. “The pressure on Brittany’s brain was too great.”
Soon, in 1997, Children’s Village was built, and Brittany was able to see the pediatric neurologist at the Village through the specialty clinics. This allowed the family to remain in Yakima, rather than move to Seattle. Brittany’s condition was eventually treated with a shunt that was inserted into the brain to relieve the pressure.
After 12 surgeries throughout the years, Brittany felt like a normal teenager. The process was not easy, but Children’s Village and its parent support programs helped them get through that very difficult time. Family support services and medical access locally at Children’s Village also proved vital to the Coats family.
Through Parent to Parent, Gina said, “We also learned from sharing information. It’s a great feeling when you can be around like people and draw from their experiences and share yours.”
Brittany took part in the recreational programs through Children’s Village and was matched with a certified mentor.
When Brittany graduated from Children’s Village, she felt it was her turn to give back, so she became a mentor for others. “I felt I could step into that role and be able to give them (kids receiving services) guidance and let mothers know that I’ve been where they are.” Her family’s firsthand experience has made her believe in the programs and services offered at Children’s Village.