Easton’s Story

On November 7, 2022, Andrew and Candice Beightel thought their 13-year-old daughter, Easton just needed a day home from school as she wasn’t feeling well. That afternoon, Easton had a stroke and Grand Mal seizure, and at that moment, their lives changed. At the hospital, Easton’s seizure continued for several hours before she was transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City for care.

Tests revealed a massive infection on the right side of Easton’s brain leading to emergency surgery to remove half of her skull and start the process of removing the infection. Two subsequent surgeries and IV antibiotics were needed to ensure that the infection was eradicated. Shortly after Easton’s initial surgery, it became evident that she had lost all function on the left side of her body and needed rehabilitative therapy to relearn sitting up, walking, brushing her teeth, and more.

After three weeks she was sent home with a protective helmet to begin therapy with Capper Foundation Physical Therapist (PT) Jennifer Hull. With her therapeutic goals met, she was discharged after four sessions. Easton’s hospital experiences inspired her to write I Heard You Were Feeling Ruff. “I saw so many kids who were worse off than me and I wanted to use my experience and some fun games to make them feel better. I wanted to let them know that others care about them and that they can do tough things too”, shared Easton.

In February, Easton endured a setback causing unexplained loss of function in her left hand requiring a return to services at Capper. In May, she underwent her fourth and final surgery to have a prosthetic skull placed on her right side after which she could say goodbye to the helmet and proudly show her scars. “Easton has made amazing gains and has met nearly all her goals. We often think back to how hard things were when we started and reflect on how far she has come! Easton has nearly doubled her left-hand grip strength, is able to isolate her left fingers independently, and is completing daily tasks again. Easton will be discharged from services before returning to school. I am so proud of her hard work and her positive attitude. She is an amazing girl”, said Connor Tanking, Occupational Therapist (OT).

“Throughout her recovery, the PT and OT have been the highlights of her days. In the hospital she was able to work with some wonderful people while relearning basic functions and motor skills. This continued when we began work with Jennifer and Connor at Capper. Everyone at Capper was invested in Easton’s recovery as much as we were. These moments still bring tears to my eyes to see how hard she has worked and to see how far she has come”, shared Easton’s mom, Candice.

With recovery nearly complete, Easton is looking forward to resuming normal life, including playing her favorite sports and envisioning her future which includes college, and medical school with the goal of being a Pediatric Neurologist or Radiologist.

With your continuing support, Capper Foundation is committed to providing pediatric therapy services to children of all ages and circumstances facing challenges from illness, injury, or disability.

To read the full newsletter in which this story was published, click here.

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