When Rosanna Hoyle was pregnant with her second child, she received some news that would change both of their lives forever.
Her unborn daughter, Jade, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes the body to produce an abnormally thick and sticky mucus in the lungs, pancreas and various other organs. This mucus can in turn clog the lungs, resulting in infection. It can also obstruct the pancreas, preventing the release of enzymes needed to break down food.
In 2001, Jade was born in Savannah, Georgia, where she spent two weeks in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. During this time, doctors advised Hoyle that she would need to pick a cystic fibrosis clinic for her daughter.
There were only two such clinics within a reasonable distance of the Hoyles’ home. One of 120 accredited cystic fibrosis centers in the United States and one of only two accredited centers in Georgia, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia seemed a natural fit for the Hoyle family.
“We have family in Augusta and it’s closer to where we live,” Hoyle said. “So, we choose Augusta.”
At just three-months-old, Jade began what has since become a lifelong relationship with the children’s hospital.
Around the same time, physicians encouraged Hoyle to get her oldest daughter, Chyann, then-almost three-years-old, checked for cystic fibrosis as well. Hoyle was doubtful. Her oldest daughter seemed fine; she wasn’t showing any symptoms. But tests confirmed her physician’s suspicions. Cheyenne would join her sister for treatment.
The news was crushing.
“When we found out Chyann had cystic fibrosis, it was devastating,” Hoyle said. “She had gotten along so well.”
For the past 16 years, the Hoyle sisters have continued to receive care at the children’s hospital. Although their disease is and always will be a part of them, Jade and Chyann have refused to let it stop them. In fact, Hoyle said having someone to share their diagnosis with has been, in some ways, a good thing for the sisters.
“Sometimes it’s helpful that both Jade and Chyann have cystic fibrosis,” she said. “They understand each other.”
The trick for Hoyle has always been how to give Jade and Chyann the best lives possible. Living with CF is a constant uphill battle, but the Hoyle sisters have always been up for the climb.
“I try really hard not to keep them in a bubble,” Hoyle said. “We’re going to do everything we can do to live a normal life. They’re in regular school. They lead an active life. They’re exposed to stuff every day. I don’t want to keep them home and not have them enjoy life.”
In fact, Jade and Chyann Hoyle live a life more active than most. Jade is a cheerleader, golfer, dancer and is active in her local 4H. She’s also an honor roll student and a member of the student council at school. Chyann is also a golfer. She’s also a singer, a guitar player, member of the advanced chorus and the math team at school. Currently a senior in high school, Chyann is also salutatorian of her graduating class.
Through it all, the children’s hospital has been there with Jade and Chyann like a faithful friend, treating their CF and helping them live life on their terms.
“Jade’s doctors know everything going on in her life,” said Hoyle said. “They know she has a golf tournament in 11 days and prom in two days. It’s even written on the whiteboard in her room.”
One year, Jade was in the hospital around the same time as a pageant she was supposed to participate in. Hoyle recalls her daughter’s doctors giving their all to ensure that Jade would make it to her pageant. They even recommended a store where the Hoyles’ could purchase a dress.
Treatment isn’t the only thing the Hoyles have found at the children’s hospital, though. The family has also found a community.
“We feel like family when we come here,” Hoyle said. “Jade has her favorite nurses, care technicians and cleaning ladies. She has a personal relationship with a lot of them. They’ve been taking care of the girls for such a long time. It’s not a patient-nurse relationship. These are family members.”
And like family members, the staff at the children’s hospital has encouraged Jade to pursue a bright future and chase her dream job.
“I want to be a nurse,” said Jade Hoyle, currently a junior in high school. “I want to go to Augusta University and major in nursing. After graduation, I want to work at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.”[chog20]