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Niswonger Children's Hospital making a difference in the Tri-Cities

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JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

The Niswonger Children's hospital is truly cherished in the Tri-Cities.

"As the regions only children's hospital, this facility has made a positive impact on thousands of lives over the years," said Scott Niswonger, Chief Benefactor of the Niswonger Children's Hospital.

Six month old Brilan Jenkins is a patient at the hospital.  Brilan has a rare disease called Trisomy 13.

"It is an extra copy of his 13th chromosome and causes a lot of underline problems," said Jessie ward, Brilan's mother.

When Brilan was born doctors told his parents he wouldn't live.

"They basically said he had two days to live," said Brian Jenkins, Brilan's father.

Brilan and his family spent the next month traveling to 4 different hospitals.  According to the parents, those four hospitals treated Brilan as a statistic.

"They would remind us constantly everyday that he's got a 5% chance of survival his first year," said Jessie Ward.

The family then decided to try one more hospital, closer to home.

"We went to Niswonger and Niswonger gave us hope," said Brian Jenkins.

Brilan's parents say Doctors do not know how much longer he will live and say they are thankful for everyday with Brilan.

"If it wasn't for Niswonger, he wouldn't be alive," said Jessie Ward.

8 year old Nathaniel Sams has also spent time at Niswonger.  His parents say at 6 years old he had extremely high blood sugar and his pediatrician could not tell them why.

"One day his blood sugar was about 457 so we took him to Niswonger," said Johnathon Sams, Nathaniel's father.

Niswonger doctors diagnosed Nathaniel with type 1 diabetes.  Before the diagnosis he didn't have the energy or health to play outside, but today his parents say with the care he received at Niswonger he can.  Nathaniel and his family now raise money for diabetes research.

"Because I got good help I want to help others," said Nathaniel Sams, who has type 1 diabetes.

That statement, similar in spirit to what inspired Scott Niswonger to start the hospital.  A spirit that continues to live on through the patients whose lives the hospital has changed.

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved. 

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