Eleven-year-old Baylee has a big heart. She loves everyone, and she wants to help people who are hurting. She loves animals. She enjoys singing, dancing, school, cheerleading and soccer. Her favorite food is cheeseburgers and Chinese food.
Baylee was a healthy baby. At 18 months, she wasn’t talking. After routine speech therapy, they discovered she had asthma, chronic bronchitis, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech apraxia and mood disorders. She’s been a regular patient at Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital since she was five years old. Every three months, she receives asthma treatments at the hospital. During the 2021 holiday season, Baylee experienced stomach issues. So, it was off to the hospital. Baylee was scared, but the nurses were great. Baylee received a princess Barbie and a teddy bear.
The sixth grader is a special needs child, and she’s the daughter of KaSandra Smith, Senior Office Manager at America’s Car-Mart of Fayetteville, Ark., who is appreciative of all that Arkansas Children’s has done for her daughter.
Here’s more from KaSandra about Baylee’s journey:
Tell us about your experiences at Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital?
Going to the hospital is not like a normal doctor’s appointment for Baylee; it’s a life-time thing. Being at the hospital during COVID terrified Baylee because they were suited up. When they administered the COVID test, they gave her a play-doh set to take her mind off it.
When Baylee had her tonsils removed one spring, she was in the hospital for four days. But she got to shop in the Snowflake Shop, which she thought was pretty cool. She picked out a baby doll and a quilt.
That really made me cry. Here, my child is hurting, but the hospital will do anything to bring joy to the kids. In fact, at all Baylee’s appointments, she gets a toy. This makes me happy, and it warms my heart that they do this for the children.
For those kids who go on a regular basis, like Baylee, the staff knows the kids by name. They make it a pleasurable experience for them. This makes the kids feel good.
What do you have to say about children’s hospitals?
I’m very thankful. We didn’t know what was wrong with Baylee when she was in kindergarten, and the children’s hospital helped us take care of her. She couldn’t tell us what hurt, and they made sure she was okay. They still help us and take care of us. It’s a comfort feeling really.
What suggestions do you have for other parents who may need to take their child to the hospital
If you need to go to a hospital, go to a children’s hospital, above anywhere else. They take the time and effort into testing, and that’s important.
What does it mean to you that Car-Mart conducts a toy drive?
It’s great because there are a lot of kids whose parents can’t provide for their kids. Every child deserves something at Christmas.
Surviving the Ride
While Baylee and her family stand ready to go to the hospital at a moment’s notice, it doesn’t stop her smiles. It’s no surprise that Baylee wants to be a doctor or veterinarian when she grows up. She and her dog, Cooper, go everywhere together. And Baylee will soon have a new little sister, Journey, age five, whom KaSandra, a single mom, is adopting to be a part of their cozy family.
Thanks to the amazing care that Baylee receives at Arkansas Children’s, combined with Baylee’s courage and can-do attitude, Baylee simply enjoys being a kid.