Meredith Casey & The Mighty Meredith Project 

Meredith Casey was only 11 years old when she suffered a life-changing brain injury on Dec. 15, 2015. She had no way of knowing that her accident would launch her into starting her own nonprofit – Mighty Meredith - to give back to the medical community, raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries, and promote kind acts everywhere.

A fifth grader at the time, Meredith hit her head in a fluke accident; she was picking up her homework off the kitchen floor and, as she stood up, she struck her head on the granite countertop. There was no bruising or bleeding, but rather an immediate onset of headaches that continued over the course of the next few days.

“My school nurse and pediatrician thought that I likely had a concussion,” Meredith said. “But over the next three months, my health deteriorated significantly with no known cause.”

It was at Tufts Children’s Hospital that the Pediatric Neurology specialists discovered that Meredith had a blood clot at the base of her brain, also known as sagittal sinus thrombosis. The blood clot also caused a myriad of medical conditions such as chronic, debilitating pain and loss of balance, leaving Meredith unable to walk without a cane. Hospitalized on and off from April to June 2016, Meredith was under the care of a multidisciplinary team from across Tufts Children’s Hospital, including neurology, hematology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, interventional and physical therapy. Though the blot clot itself resolved, Meredith still endures chronic pain and receives long-term medical care from her team.

Inspired by the kindness from the community, doctors, and child life specialists who became an integral part of her life, Meredith wanted to give back to the community in some way. She first started by donating her birthday gifts and hosting a bake sale to raise money and purchase gift cards for the Hematology Clinic at Tufts Children’s Hospital. But she soon had her sights set on bigger acts of kindness. Within months, she launched the Mighty Meredith Project, a nonprofit organization built on three pillars: mighty smart, mighty giving, and mighty kind. The motto: “Be Kind, It’s Good for the Mind.”

“I have personally benefited from the generosity of a stranger’s donations during difficult visits and hospitalizations,” Meredith said. “I wanted to help bring joy to those who may be in a similar situation by giving back.”

Now, at 16-years old and a sophomore in high school, Meredith continues to rally her friends, family, and community to promote kindness and raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries. Meredith’s “Fill the Box” campaign is an annual toy and gift card drive that benefits children who are hospitalized during the holidays and families who have fallen on hard times due to the cost of affording medical care. Last month, the Mighty Meredith Project delivered cheer in the form of hundreds of toys and gift cards to the Child Life program to help pediatric patients and their families throughout the hospital. They also provided a generous gift of $3,500 to Tufts Children’s Hospital.

“We are very grateful to Meredith and the Mighty Meredith Project,” said John Gaitanis, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Tufts Children’s Hospital. “Many of the families who benefit from the 'Fill the Box' campaign are desperately struggling with either medical or financial challenges and would not be able to celebrate the holidays otherwise. To see the faces of those children and families light up is an incredible experience for us as their care team.”

Meredith also banded with her community to write 500 “thank you” cards, each with a $5 Dunkin’ gift cards to frontline healthcare workers and first responders. In March, during Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Mighty Meredith Project donates hundreds of bike helmets to the Pediatric Neurology Department at Tufts Children’s Hospital, as part of the non-profit’s “Helmets for Heads” campaign.

Another kindness initiative: Meredith sends notes of encouragement to those who may be suffering from traumatic brain injury in silence. Nominations are received via the non-profit’s website, and Meredith sends handwritten notes to individuals across the country, sharing her own personal experiences to let them know they are not alone in having a hidden injury. And, in Meredith’s hometown of North Reading, Massachusetts, the Mighty Meredith Project offers a scholarship to a graduating senior who has made kindness a part of their character.

“To me, kindness is not something big or overdone, but rather small things that can really make a difference in someone’s day,” Meredith said. “It is a nod, a gesture, a hello, a card, a note, or any single act that has an impact.”

With a focus on the “small things,” Meredith has made a profound impact on the lives of our patients, families, our staff, and her community. We applaud Meredith for her courage throughout her health journey and her leadership as a changemaker, and we thank her and the Mighty Meredith Project for their enduring partnership and support.

 

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