Dell Children's celebrates 10 years of serving Central Texas

It has been ten years since Dell Children's Medical Center opened its doors in Austin to serve Central Texas.

Since then doctors and nurses have cared for thousands of patients.

Friday, hospital staff gathered to mark the milestone with a birthday party complete with candles, cake and the kids who rely on the hospital.

After singing happy birthday Belle and Abby Andrews helped blow out candles.

The sisters would not miss the party.

"For us Dell Children's means safety, home and family," said Pam Andrews. Belle, 7, and Abby, 3, were diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C. It's a rare neurodegenerative disease with no cure which is nicknamed childhood Alzheimer’s.

"We would go to Chicago and sit with families from Texas in the waiting room and to see Austin step up it is changing our lives," explained Andrews.

For 10 months the Andrews had no choice but to travel so Belle could take part in a clinical trial for the disease.

The Andrews turned to Dell Children's and within a short time a trial site was up and running in Austin serving not only the Andrews but other Central Texas families. "Dell never said no. They said yes immediately and it's a credit to this institution how quickly they came to our aid," said Chris Andrews, Belle and Abby's dad.

"Moving forward we will have even more comprehensive care so we don't have families who have to go anywhere else," explained Dr. Meena Iyer, chief medical officer for Dell Children's.

The team at Dell Children's has become part of the Andrews' family and they are forever grateful.

"It means our children will have a chance at living life," said Andrews.

The Andrews Family launched the Firefly Fund which works closely with the hospital. They are pushing for more research to hopefully one day find a cure for NPC1 and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In the decades to come the team at Dell Children’s will work to make sure more kids, like Belle and Abby, keep celebrating their birthdays.

The hospital serves 46 counties. Next year, Dell Children's will open a new mental health unit. It will include 24 beds and an outpatient clinic. To donate or learn more about the Firefly Fund, click here

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