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Patient Stories

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What Our Patients Say About Us


Thank you from the Edwards"Dear Dr. Ritter and Dr. Rhodes,

Thank you for taking such amazing care of our pride and joy. Her head looks amazing. The incision is healing great. Thank you for making us feel so comfortable with you and for being open, honest, and forthcoming about the surgery, process, and expectations.

— The Edwards





"Dear Ruth,

I know that you know what a great job the CF team does, but I wanted to pass along a compliment from the children's pediatrician as well.

She mentioned at their last visit how much she appreciated the prompt and thorough information that she gets on them, and that she has never interacted with a specialist who seemed so invested in their patients. She said it has certainly spoiled her expectations of other doctors, and that the majority of others that she works with are a huge struggle just to get a call back, much less get good information on the care they are providing or the treatment plan. She mentioned also that it has been very helpful in educating her not just on Abbie and Charlie's situation, but to be better prepared for caring for other similar patients."

— Thank you again for always going above and beyond! Heidi

“Dr. Rhodes,

image of thank you cardWe just want to say a huge thank you for all you did for our Micah! Thank you for being so personable and taking the time out of your crazy day to pull up a chair and ask how we were doing. You were such an encouragement to us and we will never forget what you and your team did. We moved to Phoenix right before Thanksgiving and are really loving it here! You guys will always play a huge part in our lives and we cannot say thank you enough!! Take care and all the best to you.”

— With much appreciation and love,
    Andrew, Robin, Noah and Michah Bunn

“Dear Dr. Rhodes,

Thank you so very much for taking such good care of Kevin. We are truly blessed to have had you as Kevin's doctor. Kev's face is beautiful but more importantly is his chemo is on it's way and with time he is going to be fine. Thank you for sharing your special gift with us.”

— I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are,
   Robert, Nancy, Ryan, and Kevin Moran

“Dear Dr. Rhodes & Ruth,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us and explain what we needed to know about our little girl's diagnosis of cleft lip, (and preparing us for the more difficult-to-diagnose palette issues). We left your office feeling more prepared for what lies ahead and reassured that our little girl will receive the best possible care working with your team. Thank you both again. We are growing quite excited to meet our baby girl and will see you after she arrives.”

— Warm Regards, Valerie & Matt McLearen

thank you card“I was born with neurofibroma dysplasia cystic hygroma. My first surgery was at 6 months old, and I have had over 55 surgeries and 30 outpatient procedures throughout my childhood. I spent more time in the hospital than I did in school. When I was 18 yrs old I had a surgery that lasted over 18 hours and I ended up on life support. That was my last surgery. I am now 48 years old.

Going through life, I thought about getting more surgery but I didn’t follow through, in part because insurance was such a problem. I was told my birth defect was a pre-existing condition and my insurance wouldn’t cover an operation, or doctors told me it would be considered ‘cosmetic’, or they felt they could not tackle it. Then, in 2010 I got really sick. I had no insurance  and ended up at my community health clinic and met Dr. Webster. She became my primary care doctor, and right away she asked me about my birth defect. She went out of her way to help me find financial assistance and look for a doctor who would see me and made an appointment for me with Dr. [Jennifer] Rhodes.

I had no expectations walking into that appointment, and actually I was sure she would say she could not help me. Now, five years and six surgeries later, I can tell you I have a brighter outlook on life, in large part due to Dr. Rhodes.  There is nothing I can say that shows my gratitude and appreciation  for what she has done for me.

I would tell other patients and families, ‘don’t let other people bring you down.’ There are a lot of cruel people in the world, but a lot of good people too. Dr. Rhodes is the best.”

Phil Romeo* (Aug. 2014)

*A month later, we received this note from Phil's mother:

“Dr. Rhodes,

On behalf of our family I would like to say a very big thank you to your and your associates for everything that you have done for Philip.

Everyone in the family thinks that what you and your associates have done is nothing less than amazing!! We also agree that all that has been done is such an improvement. Although we all thought he was close enough to perfect. We just do not know how to say thank you. We expected some change but we never expected the change we saw. What a wonderful, wonderful, change. When our family members saw the results of his surgeries their reaction was 'WOW!' Thank you again”

— Nancy Romeo (Philip's Mom)


Ally - hemangioma patient

“I just wanted to give you a quick update on Ally. She's doing great. Her hemangioma has divided into 2 relatively small sections and those are gradually getting smaller. She is a feisty little girl. She will be 2 years old next month. Attached are a couple of pictures. I can't thank you enough for treating her and putting us at ease with her hemangioma.

— Thank you, Sarah Evans


“I just wanted to say Thank You for taking your own personal time to take care of Madison!!!  I am so thankful for you and the entire clinic for Madison!  We are blessed to have you in Richmond!  Thank you for always being there when we need you!!  God put us in Richmond and the main reason is to be near Doctors that are perfect for our Daughter!  Thank you for being a huge part of that!  Have a great week!”

— Kara and Family (Aug. 8, 2014)


I want to thank you all for the wonderful work that you do. I could never have imagined (one year ago) that Casi’s results would be this amazing. I found out at 26 weeks that my child would be born with a cleft lip & palate. The Perinatology department at Henrico Doctors Hospital explained that there would be a series of surgeries necessary and advised me to contact Craniofacial Care at Children's Hospital of Richmond and Dr. Jennifer Rhodes.

When I called, the first person that I was privileged to speak with was Ruth Trivelpiece. Her tone was very warm as she explained that we would become like a family over the years to come. She asked that I limit my research on this condition to the VCU website and its links as opposed to random searches on the internet.

A few weeks later my husband and I went in for a visit where we were able to sit with Ruth and Dr. Rhodes. We were able to see actual before and after pictures of Dr. Rhodes patients, go over the feeding techniques and learn of the different stages of repair. My husband and I went into this meeting with what seemed like a million questions, but before we had a chance to ask any of them they were answered. One of the things that we both appreciated most was Dr. Rhodes (and Ruth) explaining in a way that we understood. Some doctors have a tendency to speak in medical terms and information gets lost in translation. That has never been an issue here.

We were visited by Ruth in the hospital when our baby girl was born because she wanted to supply the proper bottles for feeding. The rest is history. This has been a long year, yet so short.  Our Casi is healthy, happy and beautiful and I can’t thank Dr. Rhodes and her team enough.

Thanks and Best Regards, Mary Pitts


“Our son, Justin, was born 11 years ago with a hemangioma on his lip. As Justin grew, so did the hemangioma. Everywhere that Justin went, people would ask if he had been hit in the mouth or gotten into a fight. While Justin felt very positive about himself, he did want to explore the options for treatment. The idea of surgery terrified him.

We met with Dr. Rhodes and the team for an initial consultation and from the moment they entered the room, they made every effort to take a holistic approach to treatment and assure Justin he would be safe. They educated us and gave Justin opportunities to ask questions and express concerns. This attitude continued throughout the procedure and at the post surgical appointment. As a parent, it is frightening to give up our illusion of control over our children and trust their care to someone who cannot possibly love them as much as we do. Dr. Rhodes and the team understand that and treat the emotional concerns just as seriously as they do the physical.

We can't thank them enough for what they did for our son!

Sincerely, Dru-Ann Sgarlato, Dale Dunn and Justin Dunn

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“Please thank everyone for the iPad and case—Ethan loves his iPad. He picks it up whenever he is ready to use it—which is a lot and he laughs each time he works with it. I have downloaded several flash cards. It allows me to see, since he does not speak, what he understands and helps him to learn what words mean.  

This was a wonderful gift for him. 

— Thank you again, K Anderson”

“Hi Ruth — First, I wanted to thank you so much personally. As I am sure you can imagine having dealt with moms (and dads) of kids with hemangiomas, I have personally fretted and gone back and forth on treatment decisions since about a week into Sadie's life (4.75 years ago).

I prayed for it to disappear, I prayed for my own acceptance, I prayed for other people's acceptance, I prayed for strength to do nothing, then I prayed for strength to do something, I prayed for an answer, I prayed for accepting of no answer, and after we saw another surgeon last month, I prayed that his recommendation to operate would just resonate with me. Yet, it didn't.

But driving home Friday afternoon, and all weekend long — Mark and I chatted deep into every night — this is the first time that we have EVER felt like we are on the right path with Sadie.

From the moment I walked into the "consult" room at Dr. Rhodes's St. Mary's location, I knew that you all had a special way to reach children (and their parents). I have never felt as calm about this as I do now. Mark and I are both 100% in favor of Dr. Rhodes operating on Sadie this spring. For once, this has been an easy decision. I will reach out to Angela to schedule the surgery either later this week or just after the new year.

Just last night Sadie told us that a child at her church pageant made fun of her "fat cheek". Generally, at four, I am around most of those conversations and can step in. But I see that changing as many more things are "drop off" and the moms don't say — part of the fun of "growing up" is defending yourself. While some of this is character building, I also worry that she gets fearful or internalizes the criticisms. And as an only child, she lacks the big brother/big sister mentality where she has other kids unconditionally loving (and defending) her.

And thanks again for all you have done. I really do feel calmer about all of this now (though my email might be long... it is calm :)  ). I feel like the end of our journey is in sight and I just want to make sure that we are doing all that we can.

— Thanks, Jill

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“Dr. Rhodes & Dr. Ritter:

As we approach the date when Ellie and I discovered Charlie had Trigonocephaly, we cannot express our gratitude to the both of you enough, especially to the level that you deserve.

Your expertise and professionalism toward Charlie's situation put our minds at ease and helped us endure this stressful endeavor.

As parents of a child that was diagnosed with this condition, we cannot thank you enough for choosing to help children with this condition, for taking a vested interest in your studies and especially for locating to Richmond, VA! We are truly blessed to have had both of you together to perform this procedure on Charlie.

Thank you for choosing this career path. Thank you for all the hard work you both put in to achieve such a high standard of education. Thank you for all the decidation it takes in helping young children have a better quality of life.

Thank you for being the outstanding professionals you are. We are forever grateful to you both!

With much respect and gratitude, David and Ellie Lasher


“Dr. Rhodes & Team:

During this holiday time and everyday I would like to THANK-YOU and your team for the care - concern and LOVE you give to your patients and their families. We had an experience in September 2011 — Skylair Jones (my granddaughter) — everybody was great with her.

We have been following the surgery on Teresa and Maria (even Skylar) and it's GREAT what you and your team have done for this family.

I wish you, your team and your families a HAPPY, HEALTHY Holiday Season !!!

— We Love all of you, Brenda Fletcher and Skylair Jones


“I was floored after seeing the results of my daughter's nasal surgery. My daughter is more than pleased with the result and constantly looks in the mirror and states that she is beautiful. I know this was all due to the wonderful and compassionate care that Ruth and Dr. Rhodes gave and I would never choose a different team than this one.

And people to recognize: Dr. Rhodes and Ruth Trivelpiece”

Rebekah Webb and daughter Elizabeth

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“Dear Dr. Rhodes — On behalf of myself and my son, Simon, I wish to express our deepest appreciation for your outstanding service and care. Your staff and the MCV Caregivers made me feel so respected and considered as a parent and as a patient.

I hope you know that maybe some have taken for granted the monumental work involved in surgery and the risk on the doctor's part and that of the patient, but I know it takes great courage and sincere commitment to do what you do, as well as your staff.

Thank you all so much and God bless your work and life in every manner.

We wish you all prosperity in your craft and glory for your sacrifice and gift to all who need you.”

— Love, Angelique & Simon


"Dr. Rhodes — We wanted to take this moment to let you know just how much you mean to us. We believe that everything happens for a reason and in turn we have been blessed to receive you as Sophia's doctor. We thank God everyday for the gift that you have now given her. She being the most important thing in our lives; we could not have placed her in better hands. Our deepest gratitude is in order, and will never be enough to express just how blessed we are to have been given you and your team. We could not have chosen a better person, doctor and friend to grow with our family.

— Our Sincerest Thank You, Elizabeth, Tommy, & Baby Sophia"


"Ruth — Thank you for all that you do. There has been a weight lifted off our shoulders, the kindness that you have bestowed upon us can never be repaid nor will be forgotten. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

— Our Sincerest Thank You, Elizabeth, Tommy, & Baby Sophia"


"Dr. Rhodes, Thank you so much for your wonderful care of Ella. We appreciate it so much. I know this is your job, but I really believe you have a gift.

Your patience and knowledge and your willingness to be available has been so wonderful.

I cannot express into words how thankful we are for the care of Ella! And we're so thankful she's doing so well!

— Love, Brian, Wendy, Clara, & Ella"


"Dr. Rhodes — It is difficult to put into words, my appreciation for your extraordinary treatment. I will always be grateful for your excellent care. Sincerely wishing you and your family a fantastic holiday season and New Year.


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