Plagued with a host of medical problems as a baby and diagnosed with failure to thrive, Newport family credits caregivers at N.C. Children’s Hospital with saving daughter’s life.

Alive and Thriving: Preschooler thrives today thanks to care she receives at UNC 

When 4-year-old Providence of Newport, N.C., was just 5 months old, she suffered from respiratory problems so severe she had stopped growing. Perplexed, her pediatrician immediately referred the family to pediatric pulmonology specialists at N.C. Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C.

A radiograph showed Providence had a mass in her right lung, and it was soon determined the mass was caused by acid reflux eating away at her esophagus. Blood had pooled in her lung, and with cilia not strong enough to clear it, the mass formed.

Providence was diagnosed with non-cystic pulmonary fibrosis as well as failure to thrive. At the time, she was not well enough for surgery. Yet, over time, the mass miraculously cleared up on its own and did not require surgery.

“God cured our baby,” says Providence’s mom, Gini. “All Praise to God, for giving the knowledge and know how to all the doctors at UNC Children's Hospital.”

While she outgrew her pulmonary issues, Providence’s acid reflux issue persisted, and she remained under the regular care of pediatric gastroenterologists at N.C. Children’s Hospital. Then, at 18 months old, Providence went into anaphylactic shock after eating a sweet potato casserole with condensed milk. Thankfully her parents, Gini and David, had just taken a first aid course for foster parents and knew exactly what to do.

Subsequent tests with pediatric allergy and immunology specialists at UNC revealed Providence had a soy sensitivity, her digestive system to shutting down upon exposure to soy protein. She is also allergic to cow’s milk.

Providence remains under the care of several specialists at N.C. Children’s Hospital, but her parents still consider her case a miracle. When she first came to UNC, Providence was in the third percentile for weight. Today, she is growing and back to a normal weight.

“It really is a miracle that she is alive today,” says Gini. “Everyone at N.C. Children’s went the extra mile for us. Everything’s in one place and very convenient. We love the coordinated care.”

The family also travels from their Newport home to Chapel Hill for their son, Chase, who sees allergy and asthma specialists at N.C. Children’s Hospital and at the N.C. Children’s Specialty Clinic, the hospital’s satellite clinic on the Rex Healthcare campus in Raleigh, N.C.

“It is worth the trip for the excellent care we receive there for our children,” says Gini. “Everyone is so supportive.”

More about Providence


Newport, NC, Carteret County—about 360 miles roundtrip


Acid reflux disease; food allergies; failure to thrive

Primary pediatric specialties:

Gastroenterology; allergy and immunology

Other pediatric specialties seen:

Urology; formerly pulmonology, as well

Frequency of visits:

Every three months

Favorite thing about N.C. Children's Hospital:

"I love the satellite clinic in Raleigh because it's closer and more personal for non-involved appointments. But I also love the hospital here in Chapel Hill because of the coordinated care. Everything's in one place and very convenient." ~ Providence's mom, Gini

A recent photo of Providence with her brother, Jeremiah.UPDATE (provided via email by Providence's mom, Gini): "God has been so good to our family this year. We love the care, concern, and interest all of the nurses and doctors have for our little girl. We have met a new doctor this year, Dr. Katherine Freeman, with G.I. during a short stay in the hospital. She is very knowledgeable and has an "ear" for details. Dr. Freeman and Maureen Kelly, nurse practitioner for G.I., and Blossom, Mrs. Kelley's nurse, have been a main support team for Providence this year with her ongoing G.I. issues. We thank God for His timing and faithfulness in Providence's life to provide for all of her health care needs."

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