Saturday, September 13, 2008

Former seizures stricken patient is to wed fiance at hospital

When she was 10, Lindsay Anderson had surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital. Doctors there removed a tumor lodged deep in her brain.

Now 22 and in good health, Anderson is going back to Children's for a much happier occasion. On Sept. 20, she'll wed her fiance, Josh Leve, in the hospital's outdoor courtyard.

It will be the hospital's first wedding.

Anderson and Leve have invited more than 100 family members and friends. Patients and their families will be invited to watch and have some wedding cake, too.

Anderson, a full-time nanny in Portage Park, said she wanted to "give some hope and some courage" to kids going through the same thing she did.

"Back when I started going to Children's, I didn't have a good outlook," she said. "It was looking kind of bleak. Walking in there today, I feel so blessed to be the way that I am and as healthy as I am."

Anderson had a benign brain tumor that caused frequent seizures. At just 13 months old, she had brain surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove part of the growth. But her doctor thought it was too risky to remove the rest. A few years later, her parents took her to Children's, where Dr. Tadanori Tomita removed the tumor using what was then cutting-edge technology.

Anderson no longer has seizures. But increased sensitivity to pain is a lingering side-effect of the surgeries.

And she still has to see Tomita every other year or so for follow-up appointments.

Anderson and Leve got engaged last year. They met a few years ago at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where Anderson was being treated for pain. Leve worked in the same building.

The idea of getting married at Children's came last year while Anderson was sitting in a park near the hospital.

Children's agreed to provide the space free of charge.

"At first, I had the reaction that a lot of people do, which is: That's an interesting idea,' " said Leve, 29. "Then, I thought how amazing it would be . . . literally come full circle. We wouldn't think of any other place to get married."

Tomita is now head of pediatric neurosurgery at Children's. He can't make it to the ceremony.
But, he said, "I'm very happy that she had a happy ending. I hope this wedding is a happy start."


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