Reece Anderson, cystic fibrosis 

Reece Anderson Arkansas Childrens Hospital

Sherwood, 11 years old

From the time her son Reece was born, Angela knew something wasn’t right.

Having worked at Arkansas Children's Hospital as a nurse for 14 years, she worried as he struggled to gain weight and wheezed while breathing.

After an initial diagnosis of asthma, Angela requested a sweat test be done to rule out cystic fibrosis (CF), a hereditary disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. 

Angela will never forget the moment the test results came back.

“I thought it might be CF, and I thought I was prepared for that diagnosis. But I wasn’t. Everything I remembered about working with CF patients in the past made me so sad for our son,” she says. 

18-month-old Reece was admitted to ACH as doctors determined a treatment plan for him. During that time, Angela and Haskell, Reece’s dad, learned how to take care of their son. 

“The first doctor we met with sat us down and gave us a much more hopeful outlook to this disease than we first thought,” Angela says. “Over the years, we have come to feel that the staff at ACH just goes above and beyond for each family they see.”

With the treatment underway, Reece’s CF symptoms were finally under control. He returned to ACH every few months for check-ups and occasionally needed to stay overnight in the hospital. 

Five years later, as Reece prepared to enter the first grade, he was diagnosed with a very high-functioning form of autism. As a result, he currently undergoes sensory integration therapy several times a week.

To manage his CF, he wears a vibrating vest twice a day and takes supplements to help with digestion. 

“Cystic fibrosis and autism are always ongoing, but we will battle it and fight it until we no longer can. And then we will battle it some more,” Angela says. “When Reece gets sick, I don’t stress because I know he has the staff at ACH to help him through.”

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