“I was given the chance to get help and Riley Hospital ended up changing my life forever. Now I want to be able to help give other children that same opportunity,” says Kylee Appman, a vibrant, enthusiastic 17-year-old.
Kylee was born with nerves at the bottom of her spine pinched off. This made her bladder and bowel sensations difficult to feel. At first, there were multiple exploratory procedures and tests, with very little luck finding something to help Kylee control her body. Riley Pediatric Urology Nurse Practitioner Shelly King, CNP, kept at it, confident they could find something to help.
They discovered there was a new trial for a Medtronic InterStim system, which stimulates a nerve that communicates with the brain. Kylee was one of the first children ever considered for this device. Riley was willing to try this for Kylee with Pediatric Urologist Benjamin Whittam, M.D., at the helm.
Kylee’s mother Lisa wanted Kylee to have a strong voice in the complex decision of whether to enter the trial. Kylee suggested they decide together. They each wrote down their opinion, Kylee counted to three, and they flipped the papers. Both mother and daughter revealed that they wanted to go ahead with the trial.
Within three hours after the first surgery, Kylee started having new sensations. Less than a week after the procedure, Kylee felt the urgency to urinate for the first time in her life. After they eventually removed the device, Kylee could sense her body’s needs on her own. Her problem was cured.
Today, Kylee and Lisa make themselves available to talk to other kids and parents considering this procedure. Kylee loves participating in the Riley Dance Marathon at Heritage Hills High School, and she even raised a few hundred dollars through a caramel apple booth.
“Kylee is a wonderful young lady with many successes in sports and in school,” says King. “Most importantly she has a sympathetic heart and kindness for others. She never misses an opportunity to support the underdog or a person in need.”
In the true spirit of a Riley Champion, Kylee keeps finding unique ways to help other kids, including using her passion for engineering to design protective shorts for an athlete who had the same procedure she experienced. “We so appreciate her representing Riley Hospital is such a special way. She embodies the spirit of Riley,” says King.