Thank you for the invitation to the 15th extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) reunion. Unfortunately, I will not be about to attend as I am leaving tomorrow to begin orientation for my freshman year at New York University, where I'll be majoring in vocal performance and musical theater. I haven't been able to make a reunion since I started high school, since they always conflicted with my football games. I would have appreciated the chance to thank everyone for the opportunities I've had over the past 18 years because of ECMO. If ECMO weren't available as an experimental option back then, I probably would not have lived. And if I had lived, even without ECMO, I certainly would have had significant medical and developmental problems.
Thanks to ECMO, I've had a great life so far. In June, I graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, where I was not only involved in the music and theater departments, but also had the chance to play varsity football and lacrosse—something my parents and I never envisioned as at all possible when I was a sickly little kid. This summer, I traveled to Spain with a group of high school friends and ran with the bulls at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamploma. I also worked at a camp for special needs adults this summer. I couldn't have done any of these things if I hadn't been lucky enough to be sent to Children's Hospital Boston.
Please express my regrets in not being able to attend, especially to Dr. Wilson. I still remember when he helped me with my science fair project on ECMO.
Click here for a photo gallery of this year's ECMO reunion.