Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An ‘Angel’ Remembered


Brenda and Jeremy Driscoll remember their son, Christopher.

A beloved son, brother and friend, Christopher Driscoll, 18, will live on in the hearts of the many lives he touched as a patient at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). At a memorial in the Yawkey Building on February 4, family, friends and staff gathered to honor Chris, who passed away January 22.

Ronald Kleinman, MD, physician in chief of MGHfC, offered condolences at the memorial, saying he was “grateful to be part of the Driscoll family.” He also bestowed Chris’s parents Brenda and Jeremy Driscoll and brother Patrick Driscoll, 12, with an honorary award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which read, “With deep gratitude to Chris for the many pediatricians he taught at MGHfC.” Patrick also received a #1 Brother medal.

Chris, who considered MGHfC his second home, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was five months old and was given a 30 percent chance of living till the age of 2. Chris defied the odds; however, he faced many more challenges in his life, including giant cell pneumonia, H1N1 and pulmonary hypertension to name a few. Through it all, Chris kept doling out his signature high fives and hand shakes, earning him the nickname “the Mayor.” The cheerful teen said hi to everyone he met, even throwing in a few playful winks.


Patrick Driscoll, 12, remember his brother.

“With so many challenges, he managed with what he had. He was so polite, and would say thank you to everyone and smile,” Brenda Driscoll says. “He was an angel, and he can fly wherever he wants now.”

Richard Mizner, MD, Chris’s primary care physician, remembers the first time he met Chris and his family. Chris had just undergone brain tumor surgery and could barely swallow a teaspoon of formula. Later, for one of Chris’s birthdays in the hospital, Dr. Mizner brought him a Curious George jack-in-the-box, a toy Chris played with so much that his family replaced the parts a few times.

Photographs of Chris were placed around the room during the memorial gathering, showing memories of a blonde, blue-eyed Chris on soccer and basketball teams, on family vacations and proclaiming his love for Raffi and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Loved ones comforted each other as they shared warm memories.

Rona Matisoff, an MGHfC volunteer, pulls out a photo of her and Chris doing a leukemia walk in Boston. “There are no relationships like this,” Matisoff says. As a hospital volunteer, she met with Chris every Wednesday when he was in the hospital to spend time and play with him. “You give a lot but you get so much back,” she says.

The Driscoll family, from Dedham, says they plan to welcome a Labradoodle into the family soon, and name it Chris, in tribute. The family hugged as they shared stories of Chris at the memorial, and keep Chris’s memory always in their hearts.

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