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Friday, July 6, 2007

Charity born out of tragedy: An undiagnosed baby

Sometimes, out of the saddest situations, heroes are born.

At 9 pounds, 2 ounces, Emma Patmore looked healthy when she was born on Feb. 2, 2006. But her mother Tara, a neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse, knew something was wrong.

Yet doctors never were able to make a diagnosis, even during Emma’s 16 weeks of hospitalization.

Emma passed away in December 2006, the day after her first photo with Santa.

Originally, her parents had launched the Emma Patmore Foundation as a way to help cover medical costs. Then "it just exploded into support, unbelievable support from family and co-workers," Tara said.

After Emma died, the Patmores decided to keep the foundation going to help others in similar situations. Tara connected online with others whose children had undiagnosed illnesses. Money from the Emma Patmore Foundation will support the families of those children or Camp Victory, a Hershey camp for children with ventilators.

Tara hopes Emma's story also helps educate others. There isn't a lot of awareness of undiagnosed illnesses, she said. "Everyone can't believe this can happen," she said.

About one-third of special needs children have no diagnosis, according to the organization Syndromes Without A Name.

Advice: Share Tara’s story.

Read one of our hero stories, or read more from the source article by Angie Mason.

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