Korey T. Foley was born on June 14, 1993 with alcohol and drugs in his system that contributed to multiple congenital birth defects. While he was able to overcome the addiction, it was only the beginning of the hurdles Korey would face in his young life.
In the spring of 1996, Korey was rushed to Boston Medical Center in cardiac arrest. It was there that doctors discovered that Korey had developed a cyst on his brain stem, and had a hole in his heart. While the doctors were able to remove most of the cyst, Korey could not breathe independently, so doctors performed a tracheostomy, creating an airway into his windpipe, and attaching a mechanical ventilator to facilitate breathing.
Korey remained in a coma for several months, and was transferred to Franciscan Hospital for Children for rehabilitation therapies.
Doctors were unsure if Korey would ever regain consciousness, but his nurse, and future adoptive mother, disagreed. During an ambulance ride for an appointment, she felt Korey squeeze her hand and soon thereafter, he began to awaken.
Korey spent the next several years as a patient on Francsican’s rehabilitation unit. Physical therapists helped him learn how to drive his motorized wheelchair, and speech therapists helped him learn how to communicate using a voice-output device. As he grew stronger, Korey began attending school at the Hospital’s onsite Kennedy Day School while remaining a patient on the rehab unit. He worked very hard to make strong gains, and always did it with a smile.
After almost 4 weeks in a coma, Korey responded to his Dad’s request for a smile. Once again, Korey was back.
In December 2001, shortly before Korey was to be discharged from Franciscan with his foster parents, Mary Cait and Mark, he developed Sepsis, a blood infection that attacks all of the body’s systems. Korey was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital, and remained in a coma. Despite some doubts from the medical staff, Korey and his foster parents did not give up. After almost 4 weeks in a coma, Korey responded to his Dad’s request for a smile. Once again, Korey was back.
After returning to Francsican Hospital for additional inpatient rehabilitation, Korey was able to finally go home with his adoptive parents in August of 2002.
Today, Korey continues to attend the Kennedy Day School, where he enjoys reading, music and his vocational preparatory program. He loves supporting his friends, being the class disc jockey, and working hard. He continues to work with his therapists to improve mobility with his power wheelchair and communication with his voice-output system in school and out in the community.
Korey is well known throughout the hospital, and has asked to volunteer, attending the units’ family dinners, to encourage the other kids to “get better and get home.” Korey’s positive personality, strength, and determination are an inspiration to his family and friends.
He faces every challenge head on, and always with a smile.
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