As we look back on 2019, read our favorite stories about some of our Atrium Health patients.

News, Your Health | 2 years ago

12 Days of Christmas: Meet Some of Atrium Health’s Most Inspiring Patients of 2019

It brings Atrium Health nothing but joy to fulfill our mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing - for all. Our teams are proud to play a small role in caring for our patients and making a difference in helping to shape their stories through the care they have received. And as the decade comes to a close, we wanted to pause to share some of our favorite stories about Atrium Health patients from 2019. Happy holidays everyone!

Series note: As the decade comes to an end, we wanted to take some time to reflect upon 2019 and the amazing stories that some of our incredible patients at Atrium Health have had throughout the year. Take a trip down memory lane with us in our 12 Days of Christmas. 

For more, read Atrium Health Levine Children's Inspiring Stories from 2019

On the first day of Christmas 🎄

Doctor Saves Man’s Life During Pickup Hockey Game

Life often comes at your fast, but in the blink of an eye it almost ended for Jib Street when he went into sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of a pickup hockey game. But thanks to the quick thinking of fellow hockey player Craig Bryant, MD, Street is alive and eager to get back on the rink.


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On the second day of Christmas ❄️

Young Stroke Survivor’s Message: It Can Happen to Anyone

Kristen Wingate is a 43-year-old mother of three. She’s an avid runner and loves the outdoors. She’s passionate about her job as the lead pediatric enteral feeding technician at Atrium Health Levine Children’s, where she’s part of a specialized team that prepares feedings for high-risk infants. She’s also a stroke survivor.

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On the third day of Christmas 🎁   

Running for a Cure: Cancer Patient Runs Boston Marathon Alongside His Oncologist

In April 2016, Kirk was diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), leading him to Levine Cancer Institute for treatment. This was the start of a long journey for Kirk, including a clinical trial and chemotherapy regimen. But it also grew a friendship with his doctor, Saad Usmani, MD. The two faced his SMM diagnosis together, hiked Mount Everest together, and now have run the Boston Marathon, all in the name of multiple myeloma research.

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On the fourth day of Christmas 🕯️

Midwife Shows Exceptional Care for Healthy Delivery of High-Risk Child with Down Syndrome

Mother of three, Lauren Dantzler, relied on Atrium Health Piedmont GYN/OB team for her first and second child’s birth — so it was a no-brainer to go back to her certified nurse midwife, Tammy Reyes, CNM, MSN, for expert care when scans detected her third child would be born with Down Syndrome.

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On the fifth day of Christmas 🦌

Peace of Mind: How Brain Surgery Helped Scott Overcome Epilepsy

Following a motorcycle accident, Scott suffered from seizures for more than 6 years. But after undergoing brain surgery to treat his epilepsy at the source, he’s seizure-free, enabling him to drive again and even plan his dream wedding with his fiancé.

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On the sixth day of Christmas 🎅🏼

Working Mom Able to Live Pain-Free After Trigeminal Neuralgia Brain Surgery

In February 2018, 32-year-old Leah Perkins boarded a flight bound for a family vacation in Florida feeling her normal self. Upon landing, she felt an excruciating, shock-like pain in her face and jaw. Four root canals later, she went to Atrium Health Neurosciences Institute where she was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN), a rare nerve condition considered as one of the most painful disorders known to (wo)man.

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On the seventh day of Christmas 🍪

High School Sweethearts Tie the Knot After Bride Beats Cancer Twice

After 11 years of dating, a fierce battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiple rounds of chemotherapy, including a stem cell transplant, Mary Stanton tied the knot with high school sweetheart, Matthew Mills. Throughout her treatments Mary Stanton bonded with her care team at Levine Cancer Institute so much that she couldn’t imagine not having them at her wedding.

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On the eighth day of Christmas ☃️ 

Local Sheriff Advocates for Skin Cancer Prevention After Melanoma Diagnosis

Growing up, Cleveland County Sheriff Norman enjoyed spending time outdoors. Active and otherwise healthy, there was little concern his health could be in jeopardy — until a melanoma diagnosis put his life on hold. Now, Sheriff Norman has parted ways with tanning and speaks out against the damaging skin care practices that nearly cost him his life.

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On the ninth day of Christmas 🔔

First-in-World Procedure for Liver Cancer Restores Hope for Patients

A world-first procedure performed at Atrium Health has given hope to patients with rare forms of hepatic (liver) cancers. Known as the Ex Vivo-ALPPS procedure, a 25-member team has combined two previously described methods of treatment in a groundbreaking new combined procedure. The Ex Vivo-ALPPS method pioneered at Atrium Health restores hope to liver cancer patients initially believed to be untreatable. And thanks to these advancements, patients like Robin are making plans for the future.

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On the tenth day of Christmas 

Surgical Technician Finds His Purpose by Helping Save Stranger Attempting Suicide 

Following a lifelong battle watching his mother deal with episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide, Eric Torres struggled to come to grips with what more he could have done for her before her passing. Years later, Eric found his purpose when he noticed an individual who was trying to end his life. Recognizing the situation, he quickly jumped into action to play a critical role in saving the man’s life. This is Eric’s firsthand account of what happened that day.


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On the eleventh day of Christmas 🎶

A High Level of Care for a High-Risk Pregnancy

After six miscarriages, Kristen and her husband’s hopes of a second pregnancy were dwindling. But as they were in the middle of the adoption process, something shocking happened: Kristen learned she was pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby girl named Lyra.


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And on the twelfth day of Christmas 🌟

Couple Married 68 Years Passes Away on the Same Morning

When Tim Cool’s parents – Atwood and Leona Cool – fell ill last year, he reached out to the care team from Hospice of Union County for their help and expertise. But what he didn’t know was the divine plan that had been set that allowed for his parents to never have to spend a day on this earth apart.

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It brings Atrium Health nothing but joy to fulfill our mission to improve health, elevate hope, and advance healing - for all. Our teams are proud to play a small role in caring for our patients and making a difference in helping to shape their stories through the care they have received. We hope you can learn a little something from each of our patients after reading their stories above - we know we sure did! Happy holidays everyone!