A wide grin spread across Jartavius Edmond’s face when the 13 year-old who has lost both his kidneys laid eyes on supermodel Cindy Crawford in person for the first time.
“I’m just happy she came to see me and to finally get to meet her,” Jartavius said.
Edmond, who has end-stage renal disease, was one of several patients Crawford visited at Egleston Hospital Nov. 12, as part of an ongoing relationship between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Rooms To Go–the manufacturer of Crawford’s furniture line–Cindy Crawford Home.
The supermodel turned entrepreneur has worked with Rooms To Go since 2005 and in that time visited several children’s hospitals around the country.
With first-hand experience in childhood illness and its effects on families, Crawford said her support of pediatric medicine is personal.
“I know that when a child gets a diagnosis, it’s as if the entire family receives the diagnosis. There’s no way around it,” Crawford said.
“I can recall when my mother drove hours, several hundred miles between Illinois and Wisconsin to take my brother to the hospital. Back then there weren’t as many places [hospitals] like this. That’s why Children’s is so important. You look around and know this is a hopeful place.”
In 1976 Crawford’s brother, Jeff, died from Leukemia.
Juanita Henderson, mother of 11 year-old Trenavius Henderson who received a heart transplant while at Children’s in May, said she could identify with Crawford’s story considering her family lives in Tifton.
In early November Trenavius was asked to return to Atlanta after his blood tests came back inconclusive.
“I didn’t know that her family has been through something similar to mine. It was kind of reassuring,” Henderson said. “I definitely know where she’s coming from.”
In addition to a fairy god mother and a cadre of clowns that roam the hallways of Egleston, Children’s foundation president Gene Hayes said Crawford’s appearance was unmatched.
“This is the first time we’ve had a supermodel. I’m sure our patients will be elated to see her. We are so grateful to have people like Ms. Crawford come to raise awareness. We couldn’t do all we do without people like her and the philanthropic support of companies like Rooms To Go,” Hayes said.
A portion of all sales from Crawford’s appearance at the Rooms To Go super store in the Perimeter area Saturday, November 13 will go to Children’s.
According to organization officials, Children’s manages more than half a million patient visits annually at three hospitals and 16 neighborhood locations throughout the state.