Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232


(615) 936-1000

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Meet Tori
 

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With her delicate features, curly blonde hair and big hazel eyes, Tori Church looks like a pint-sized version of the Disney princesses she adores. Her healthy appearance and the boundless energy typical of 3-year-olds like herself offer no clues that she is living with a serious illness.

Tori is one of 30,000 children and adults in the United States who have Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas.

She has been receiving care at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt since she was diagnosed in December 2009.

Tori's pediatrician, Frank Haraf, M.D., referred the Churches to Children's Hospital after Tori began having unusual bowel movements. A sweat test confirmed that Tori had Cystic Fibrosis, and she began to be cared for by Elizabeth Perkett, M.D., professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonary Medicine.

"We were shocked," said Natalie Church, Tori's mother. "The only thing I knew about CF was that I knew a girl that had lost her life from it a few years ago."

Tori began a rigorous treatment schedule at home, including three daily breathing treatments, and a therapy called chest percussions that her mother performs on her twice a day. She also takes 15 pills and uses an inhaler twice a day.

"Her treatments go by pretty fast," Church said. "She is doing so well now that she can swallow all her pills without even drinking anything. She's been really great about it."

Tori is physically able to do anything she wants. Her favorite activities are playing outside, swimming and playing with her friends and 1 year old brother, and of course, all things Disney. She and her family have been to Disney World several times.

Since Tori's diagnosis, the Church's have been trying to learn as much about Cystic Fibrosis as they could and have become involved with the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"We are doing what we can to help out and promote awareness," Church said. "We're all trying to learn about it. I can't just sit here. I feel like I need to be doing something."


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