Discovering Good in the Midst of Difficulties

Tracey and Xavius Parker encountered quality, family-centered care during their child’s life-threatening illness.

Every day, people discover good in the midst of difficulties. Tracey and Xavius Parker of Richmond, Texas, encountered quality, family-centered care during their child’s life-threatening illness a few years ago. Not long after, another personal struggle led the couple to a new business that is easing the burdens of people in situations similar to their own.

Tracey knew something wasn’t right with their youngest daughter Skylin. One Friday in October of 2011, Skylin complained of her stomach hurting. She became lethargic on Saturday, and then on Monday, fever set in. Tracey called their pediatrician at Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Dr. Susan Stabe, who advised her to bring Skylin in the next day if the fever persisted.

Skylin awoke that Tuesday with not only fever, but also excruciating pain. Dr. Stabe sent her directly to Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Emergency Center, which had just opened in March of 2011. After an ultrasound revealed that Skylin’s appendix had ruptured, she was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital Main Campus for emergency surgery.

“When I saw the look in the surgeon’s eyes after the surgery and heard him say, ‘There’s a reason she’s still here,’ I knew we were in the right place,” said Tracey. Because of the enormous amount of infection in her body, Skylin stayed in the hospital for 14 days. Her mom stayed with her.

“We had a really great experience for something like this,” said Tracey. “The hospital atmosphere was welcoming, and everyone from the business office to the surgeon was so caring and wonderful.”

Texas Children’s Business Office had helped dispel their fears by informing them they could qualify for financial assistance. Both Tracey and her husband had just started new jobs, and their new insurance had not yet taken effect. They filled out the paperwork, and instead of receiving a bill in the mail, they received a letter confirming that Texas Children’s Charity Care program had completely covered the cost of Skylin’s treatment.

“Receiving financial assistance was a good thing for us,” said Tracey. “Even though we didn’t have health insurance, we received quality care. Texas Children’s didn’t treat us like a charity case; they treated us like family.”

Skylin resumed her normal activities a few months after the successful surgery. She also has good memories of Texas Children’s. In fact, her experience may have sparked an interest in medicine, because every now and then, she says she wants to be a doctor.

In November of 2013, Tracey and Xavius officially launched a new business, Shampoo Mate. Their invention makes hair washing time for children more comfortable and also easier for their parents. Although the couple initially created the shampoo mate to help them with Skylin and her siblings Jazzmin and Carmin, they are now passing the benefits of it on to others.

The Parkers also hope to provide patients and families at Texas Children’s with the same financial assistance they received. “We want to donate a portion of our business proceeds to the hospital in support of the charity care fund that helped us,” said Tracey. “We pray and hope to have a massive amount to donate in perpetuity, because we are eternally grateful to everyone at Texas Children’s.”

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