Elijah Smith, 14, comes from a long family line of disc jockeys and had his first set recently at Franklin Middle School in Minneapolis, and by all accounts he nailed it. Elijah has also been a patient at Gillette since he was one. He’s had 13 surgical procedures throughout that time, including Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy Surgery (SDR).
Elijah’s mother Marissa will tell you that it can be difficult for a young child to spend so much time in and out of the hospital, but that Elijah never complained.
“For Elijah, there were aspects of the process that would frustrate anyone, as it can feel like you get through one thing, just to get to another,” Marissa says. “But he kept pushing. He’s incredibly resilient and never asked, ‘Why me?’”
After seeing the care that Elijah received at Gillette, Marissa applied for and accepted a job working for Gillette’s patient access team.
“I wanted to have a job that was meaningful, but I also wanted to have the opportunity to change the dynamics around the term of disability,” Marissa says. “Society tends to put limits on what we can do, especially with children who have disabilities. I don’t believe there’s anything Elijah can’t do, even if he has to do some of those things differently.”