Meet The Children….

I would like to introduce you to Joseph.

Meet Joseph

This is a video his mom made on December 13th 2011. It’s approximately 5 minutes long. Well worth the time to watch.

Update 2020:

Joseph is now 10 years old and walking and talking I couldn’t ask for a better outcome to such a horrific crime. He has his days of outbursts and still wears a pull-up at night but he’s my angel baby and we can make it through anything in the days ahead. He is also able to play sports which he loves Baseball

I would like to introduce you to Addison.

Meet Addison

Original Story January 15th 2018

My name is Kayla Hobeck and my daughter, Addison, is a survivor of shaken baby syndrome. As a way of bringing awareness, I would like to share our story.

Addison was born a beautiful, happy and healthy baby on September 12, 2007 at 6:43pm. She was absolutely perfect! I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect baby girl. Which is why it was so difficult when the time came to go back to work. At nearly 20 weeks, my husband and I had already found the in-home provider that would be taking care of our daughter. Because it was such a difficult decision, we used a childcare program through the local university that provided us with names and referrals. The provider we chose came highly recommended with many years of experience. We met with her multiple times before Addison was born, as well as during my maternity leave so that we would be 100% comfortable when leaving her on that dreaded first day back to work.

It was during the first several weeks that I immediately noticed something was wrong. My daughter just wasn’t the same. She had a decrease in appetite. She slept a lot more and when she wasn’t sleeping, she cried. All of these being tell-tale signs of shaken baby syndrome but as a first time mother and being unknowledgeable of the signs and symptoms of this horrific tragedy, it didn’t occur to me that my daughter was being violently abused and shaken.

On March 28, 2008, I dropped Addison off with the daycare provider and kissed her little head, just as I did every other morning before leaving for work. Had I known that would be the day that would forever change my daughter’s life, I would have never made such an ignorant move, for approximately six hours later I received the phone call that my baby was being transported to the local hospital by ambulance because she was having uncontrollable seizures. I immediately contacted my husband and we both drove 100mph to get to the hospital as quickly as we could. To our surprise, we were immediately greeted by law enforcement when we entered the hospital. We were taken into a room where we learned the news that our daughter, our everything, was a victim of shaken baby syndrome. We were interrogated for hours, while our baby was fighting for her life. We were only allowed to see her right before she was air lifted to another hospital. That image will forever be sketched in my mind.

After several more hours answering question after question, we were able to leave to be with our daughter. Upon arriving at the hospital we learned even worse news: Addison had (3) separate subdural hematomas. This wasn’t the first time the trauma had occurred… She also experienced severe retinal hemorrhaging. We were told that she may never walk, talk, hear, see or do any of the many day to day things we all take for granted. She spent the next several weeks in critical condition, while my husband and I traveled back and forth to cooperate with law enforcement, as we were still under investigation. It wasn’t until we both passed a polygraph that our names were finally cleared and we were allowed to be with our daughter without supervision. It was a matter of a few days later that the daycare provider was arrested. She immediately posted bond and hired an attorney. She refused a polygraph & did not cooperate with law enforcement.

We prayed hard, and thankfully, He listened. Addison was fully released from the hospital 10 weeks after the “incident.” The daycare provider’s attorney was able to put off trial for the case for three entire years. He also found a retired physician that testified against our physicians, stating that there wasn’t a way to be able to determine the time the abuse took place, although our physicians and every piece of research found on SBS states that the seizures occur within minutes to an hour of trauma. It is believed that his testimony is the reason for the provider’s ACQUITAL. I also believe it may have had something to do with the jurors dozing off and the judge shopping for hats on the computer during the testimony. It was later learned that that physician was paid over $50k to testify.

Despite the outcome of the trial, we are so incredibly blessed. Addison has grown into an amazing young lady who has surpassed every physician’s expectations. She spoke her first words a month after she was released from the hospital. She walked at 14 months of age. She is a miracle by every definition of the word. That being said, she does still have life altering disabilities that she’s challenged with every day. Addison suffers from intellectual & developmental, speech, learning and behavioral issues, as well as hearing loss, as a result of the brain damage from the shaking. None of that, however, seems to affect her outlook on life. I’m proud to say that her zest for life is contagious! She rarely stops, always giving her all at EVERYTHING she does from school to dance to softball and basketball and all the other activities she loves. And if she does stop, it’s typically to give someone her famous “Addison hug.” Although I grieve the cheerful, joyful child that I was once a mother to, I am more than grateful to still have her here with me. She truly is my inspiration, as she is to so many others.

Update March 2020: Addison continues to receive care from St Louis Children’s Hospital on a quarterly basis where she is seen by her ENT, audiologist, speech pathologist and neurologist at each visit. Despite the long day of appointments and testing, Addison enjoys the visits as she has formed friendships with her physicians and staff. They, too, are very familiar with the famous “Addison hug.”

She remains a fighter, by every definition of the word. Although challenged with intellectual and learning disabilities, Addison strives to do her best and consistently receives A’s & B’s in all subjects.

Addison, like many tweenage girls, has an obsession with Taylor Swift. Her room is a Taylor Swift shrine and she can always be seen watching Taylor’s youtube videos or listening to her in some fashion in her free time. She was fortunate to see Taylor in concert last year during her Reputation tour and hopes that someday she will get the opportunity to meet her in person.
Basically, Addison is a rock star! I am one proud momma.

I would like to introduce you to Carter.

Carter’s story:
Carter was violently shaken by his bio dad when he was 5 weeks old on October 24th, 2009. He suffered irreversible brain damage and a broken clavicle – shoulder bone. It is not clear how Carter received the broken shoulder bone, but that it did happen at the same time he was shaken. He spent several months in the hospital because of his injuries. Today at age 3 and 1/2 he still suffers and always will. He has global delays in all areas of development. He is blind and has seizures. He has cerebral palsy as a result of lack of oxygen at the time of the injury. He is a very high choking risk and must be tube fed through a GJ tube in his stomach via a pump. He is hooked up to this pump for 16 hours a day.He cannot have anything to eat or drink by his mouth. Because of his very poor tone, he gets painful botox shots every 3-4 months in his chest, arms and legs. Carter takes12 medications every day to help with his symptoms and condition. He can not walk, talk, roll over or even hold up his own head and MAY never will do these things – all as a result of being shaken.Despite so many hardships Carter suffers with daily, he is a sweet, happy little boy. He has the most precious giggle ever and melts my heart with his smile. I am very blessed and proud to be Carter’s mom. Our adoption was finalized 3-12 13.

Most recent update: Carter is now 10 years old!!!!!!! He still loves to swim, has seizures and legally blind. He has cortical visual impairment. Unfortunately his vision has not improved a lot through the years. Some do. His brain damage was too great. He is in a regular school and a special education class. He takes numerous therapies every week. Vision, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. He has just been through a formal speech evaluation through the state. We are very excited to see the opportunities this will open up for Carter. His biological dad is still in prison. We have fought parole twice with success. Carter is also no longer hooked up to the feeding pump hours a day he is fed four times a day and I feed him a blended diet of real food. No more formula. He has done very well and gained a lot of weight with this new way we feed him.

Link to follow my journey

I would like to introduce you to MeKenna.

Meet Mekenna

MeKenna’s Story (as told by her mother) dated September 14, 2010
My daughter, MeKenna Sharee Brown was 21 1/2 months old. She was so smart! She was walking, talking and just so full of life! I had just started going back to college after a four year break. I was 24. I had only been in school for about two weeks. On Wednesday, September 13, 2006, I had my first English quiz. My friend Steve didn’t have class that morning, so he said he didn’t mind watching MeKenna. I left early for school that day to study in the parking lot before class. I was bound and determined to get straight A’s. I managed toget through the quiz (I found out later I got a perfect score of 10/10!) On my way home from class later that day, I called home to check on MeKenna and talk to Steve. I had a 25 minute drive home, so I figured I could chat with Steve a little bit to make the drive home seem faster. I had worked a lot the weekend before and I was off that evening, so I was very excited to get to spend the whole day with my baby girl. When I called, Steve answered. I asked how MeKenna was, and he says “I don’t know, I think something may be wrong?” He then told me she wasn’t breathing right. I didn’t quite know what he meant, because he seemed very calm. I called 911 since I was so far away from home. I arrived at the hospital the same time as the paramedics. I asked what was wrong with my baby. No one really had any answers. I did hear one man say “we don’t know”. It seemed like eternity, but I think it was about 45 minutes when a doctor came out of the room to tell me they suspected that there might be head trauma, because her pupils weren’t dilating. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, or if it meant it was severe, but I knew it wasn’t good.

The scans came back. The doctor asked me to come into another room. I didn’t want to go, because I think I knew in my heart it was going to be bad. He asked me to have a seat. I felt like I was in one of those movies where they say “you might want to sit down for this” so at first I didn’t want to sit, but I told myself it it was bad news, I better be sitting because I might faint. I then heard the words “someone shook your daughter violently. If she survives, and that’s “if” she survivies, she will be severely disabled.”

I lost it. Her whole life flashed before my eyes, literally. I prayed that she would get through it, that it wasn’t as bad as they said it was. They life flighted her to a major hospital in Toledo, OH about an hour away from where I live. My daughter entered heaven the following night. She died at 10:31 pm on September 14th. The man who shook my daughter, whom I trusted, and who told me over and over he loved me, whom treated me like a queen, is now facing 15 years to life in prison.

I miss Mekenna so much, she was my only child, my whole world. It’s now my purpose in life to tory to put an end to child abuse, and my cause is making parents aware of the dangers of shaking a child, and that it can happen to anyone. There really is no way to describe the pain and horror of losing a child. I can only say, it’s sort of like how you would imagine it, except it’s real. It’s not just a bad throught. You have to wake up every single day, and getting hit with the reality of it all, that they aren’t coming back. You also have to tell yourself every day that you will be with them someday.

Shaking Shatters Lives!! NEVER SHAKE A BABY

Update December 5th, 2017
December 1st, 2017
My daughter MeKenna would have turned 13 years old. However, in 2006, one mid-September day, she was shaken. She was 21 months old, approaching her 2nd birthday. She was a vibrant, walking, talking angel on Earth. She suffered subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhaging and severe brain damage. Medical tests revealed She would never breath on her own again. She succumbed to her injuries approximately 36 hours later. Her perpetrator was sentenced to 15 years to life in an Ohio penitentiary. In 2021, he will face the parole board for the first time. Here, her two younger siblings prepare to send her a cupcake up to heaven. They have never met their sister, and never will. I do everything in my power to make sure that they know her. We have done this every year for the last 11 years. Kupcakes for Kenna! Never, ever shake a baby. -Melissa- #MeKennasmeaning

Update 2020:
Steve has his first parole hearing next year, in 2021. It is up to the Ohio Parole Board Authority as to whether or not he gets released. His family will likely fight for his release, while my family will oppose his release. I will be working over the next few months to compile petitions, letters, etc to provide to the Ohio Parole Board.

I would like to introduce you to Brittany.

Meet Brittany

Written by her mom Pam

Brittany my daughter is now 18. At 6 weeks old she was shaken by her birth father while I was at work. When I arrived home, she was acting really off. At this time I had never heard of SBS so I called the doctor and told him how she was acting. I let Kenny,my husband at the time, talk to him as well since I hadn’t been home and didn’t know what happened. The doctor said to give her a bath and if she wasn’t any better tomorrow to call him. The next morning I called the doctor to let him know she was worse and that we were bringing her to the hospital. While at the hospital I could hear the doctors talking and could tell they thought it was abuse. They questioned my Kenny and he admitted to shaking her. When I found out, I was in hysterics and ready to kill Kenny. I had no idea what I was going to do. I’m 29, now going to be a single mom of four kids, three with special needs and now Brittany could end up with severe brain damage as well or I could loose her. Miraculously, my baby girl survived. I was so thankful to god for saving my daughter that I was ready for what was about to come. I had been told by several doctors that she would never walk or talk.

When Brittany arrived home, we were on the road to recovery. Occupational, Physical, and speech therapies several times a week. By the time she was 7, she had taken her first steps with holding my hands then a walker. She also said her first word, mommy. I cried so hard and was so proud that my daughter had already made accomplishments that defied what the doctors had said. I knew from then on, that we would continue to work and make as much progress that we could.

Brittany is now 18 and has severe aggressive behavioral issues toward herself as well as others, is walking better, yet still has a wheelchair as she can’t walk long distances, is speaking words and several sentences just can’t hold a conversation, has cerebral palsy, seizures, is autistic, and needs 24 hour assistance. I am so proud of how far she has progressed and we are still progressing.

As for Kenny, he only got 11 years and only served 7 of them. He has been out for about for about 7 or 8 years. Luckily he lost his rights to MY kids and is not allowed contact with them.

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