Madison family travels to Washington, D.C., to advocate for children's health care

June 18, 2013
MILWAUKEE - Antonio Rieder, age 10, from Madison, Wis., and his family, will join 30 other patients and families from children's hospitals across the country to speak with members of Congress during the Children's Hospital Association's Speak Now for Kids Advocacy Day. They will talk about the lifesaving specialty medical care they have needed and how the budget needs to protect these services and access to care.

When: June 19-20, 2013.

Why: Millions of children in the U.S. require special care at children's hospitals to address their health challenges. The budget crisis is real and requires serious action, but changes must be made in a way that does not threaten the state of children's health care by decreasing access to care and pediatric specialists.

- Half of all hospitalized children in Wisconsin are dependent on Medicaid, which covers 1 in 3 children
in the U.S.

- Sixty percent of the pediatric residents from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's training program stay in Wisconsin and join the medical community that takes care of Wisconsin's kids. Many go into primary care and join pediatric practices around the state. Several stay on to train in specialty care while others train to provide emergency services to children. Reduction in Children's Hospital's ability to train residents will directly reduce the number of pediatricians in our state.

- Children already face waits of up to three months to see the physician they need; undermining Medicaid and Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education may reduce access further.

Who: The Rieder family knows firsthand the value of quality pediatric care. When Antonio was 6-years old, he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, an acquired bone marrow failure. His immune system was attacking his bone marrow.

He was admitted to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee on Oct. 15, 2010, and received the lifesaving treatment he needed. The Rieders were referred to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Blood and Marrow Transplant Program because it is one of the pioneers in pediatric bone marrow transplantation, with the first transplant performed in 1980. The program is one of the largest in the U.S. using unrelated individuals or mismatched family members as donors. David Margolis, MD, medical director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Children's Hospital, was Antonio's doctor.

Because a suitable bone marrow match wasn't found, he received a blood cord transplant. Unfortunately, Antonio's body rejected the first transplant and two months later, after chemo and radiation, he received a second transplant.

After 90 days in the hospital, Antonio went home to Madison, Wis., with a new chance at life. Today, his severe aplastic anemia is gone and his family, including his parents and three sisters, is committed to raising awareness of the need for bone marrow donors so other people in similar situations find the matches they need.

Where: Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Children's Hospital Association's Family Advocacy Day.

About Children's Hospital
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is the region's only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wis., is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is ranked No. 4 in the nation by Parents magazine and ranked in 9 specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report's 2013-14 Best Children's Hospitals report. Children's Hospital provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2011, Children's Hospital invested more than $100 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children's Hospital achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations and is proud to be a member of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. For more information, visit the website at chw.org.

About the Children's Hospital Association
The Children's Hospital Association Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day program provides children's hospitals, patients and families the opportunity to come to Washington to advocate on behalf of current child health legislation. The event features a fun-filled and family-friendly program tailored to accommodate the unique needs of children's hospitals, patients and families.