My Dad Has A Special Appreciation for Living

“Difficult hurdles give us an appreciation for living others don’t have.”

Today’s story is about Janie Hite.

My name is Janie Hite. I am 4, a big girl now. Thanks to my dad and another kind man I’m alive today.

appreciation for life

Janie Hite

I was born with serious problems most babies don’t have. The medical terms don’t matter – they’re just big words. With some luck and good care, I’ll be fine. I won’t grow up to typical height. I’ll look a bit different. But I can live a long, happy life.

When I was 2, I almost died. Two men saved my life — Dr. Ben Carson and my dad.

“Emergency surgery,” the doctors exclaimed. The problem? Something scary called “water on the brain.” I needed a difficult operation few knew how to do. I needed it right then to keep me alive.   

My dad flew into action. He learned that one man in the country was my best hope. His name ‐ Dr. Ben Carson. The problem? He is a busy, important man. Few can even reach him.

Dr. Ben Carson is Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. President Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. That is the highest civilian award in the U.S. Some even tell Dr. Carson he should run for President. He’d sure have my vote!

appreciation for living

(l-r) John, Kristen, and Janie Hite with Dr. Ben Carson

It was a long shot, but my father was determined to reach Dr. Carson — even in the middle of the night. So at 2:00 in the morning, a few hours before my surgery, Dad sent him an urgent email.

Dr. Carson later told us “something” woke him at a crazy early hour. He checked the email on his phone and saw the note from my dad.

Even though he had two other surgeries that morning, he reviewed my records, spoke with my dad, advised the doctors on my surgery, took me as a patient and personally performed another serious surgery I needed a few months later.

After I was feeling better, we asked Dr. Carson, “What do you think woke you so early, made you see our email, and decide to help?” He pointed his finger up to the sky. All I know is that without that nice Dr. Ben Carson and my amazing dad, I wouldn’t be here today.

Just watch. I’m going to grow up to do special things. My path may be a bit tougher than most, but that’s OK. It will make me strong. For my age, I think it already has.

Dad says difficult hurdles give us an appreciation
for living others don’t have. He’s right.

appreciation for living

The Hite Family

Your Comments

  1. Bagley Reid

    Folks. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tale with me! What blessings we can find in this life if our eyes are opened to it’s mysteries on occasion. All best, Bagley

  2. Frank Hite

    Great Story and Blessing. John and Kristen give Janie a big hug and she is always in our thoughts and prayers.
    Brenda & Frank Hite

  3. Leigh Hubbard

    Janie, you have ALWAYS held a special place in my heart. From the moment I met you I knew the size of your heart was more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. Your journey is inspiring and I’m so blessed to be along for the ride. I have personal knowledge that you will live a big life full of generosity, faith, and success…I’ve seen it in your smile! You are loved!!! Leigh

  4. Nancy Close

    Hi John and Kristin, was so moved after reading this about Janie.. I had a sister who had this issue when she was 11 yrs. She was taken to a University hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan, this was back in 1965.. I never knew what took her, until my parents came home and said she was gone.. Later they said she had hydrocephalus of the brain, she had other complications too. To this day, always wondered if others had this condition.. Thanks for sharing this dear story.. Nancy Close

  5. Joanne

    I love this sweet story! Thanks for sharing it! You are a very strong, amazing family and I am so blessed to call you my friends!

  6. Judy Watkins

    I so admire John & Kristin’s faith & determination. How very blessed they were to have found Dr. Carson. And we are so blessed to have all of them in our family!! Love to each of you!

  7. Mapuana Akau

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring story. We get so wrapped up in things that don’t really matter, we tend to forget about the important things in life. This story has definitely made me reflect on some things in my own life. God bless you and your family and thank you for sharing with us something so wonderful!

  8. Shirley & Haynie Hite

    So glad that Janie is doing well now. She and all your children are a blessing from God and I know you are proud of them. So glad you live near where we can see Janie, Ben, Mary Kate, and Lauren grow up. The Lord is Good. Prayers are answered. We love you all.

  9. Crystal Aiken

    Janie… You will be just fine! My nephew, Chad, has Achondroplasia and he is doing very well. After watching Chad for the past 19 years, I would love to offer a few pieces of advice.

    *Be determined in all that you do, knowing that you are smart, capable, and a person of good intent.

    *Learn how to make others comfortable with your “differences”. We never thought it important to care about what others might think or how they might react to Chad’s dwarfism, but there are things that you can learn to do to help you later in life. My nephew didn’t learn this in the small community that he was raised within. Everybody knew Chad from the day he was born and embraced him in this small, loving community. Yet, when it was time for him to go to college in an environment where others did not automatically know him, Chad had difficulty “breaking the ice” with others and felt solitude and depression for the first time in his life. We didn’t offer him the right tools growing up. Meeting others with confidence was something that he never had to do because everyone was familiar to him his entire life. It was a difficult year and is something he continues to struggle with as a young adult. I think things could have been easier for him with more socialization tools growing up. Every day is getting better.

    Always remember… ” For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, Psalms 139:13-14

  10. Margie Nevins

    Beautiful story and family. God has certainly blessed each of us in many more ways than we ever realize. Best to you all.

  11. Barbara D. Moore

    What an awesome family. I was a next door neighbor of this loving family when little Janie arrived in their home. Never at any time has she been neglected. This family, all of them, completely embraced her and her problems. She is a lovely and beautiful little girl who has a special place in my heart. Her Mom and Dad are just as special as she is. They take care of all four of their children. They are all very special to me and I love each one of them. Janie will go far in this world.


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