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Juniper Paulson, 6, of Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Juniper is 6 years old and enjoys getting muddy and dirty in her Rice Lake community. Being on the lake with her family and friends is one of her favorite things to do.

Her mom, Cassandra Selden, said she also has a great personality and huge heart. She just seems to have a sense when people are down, and need a big hug.  Juniper has some experience, you see, because she was born with a couple of blisters on her body. Three weeks later, her entire body was covered with blisters. She was later diagnosed with incontinentia pigmenti, which is a rare condition that affects less than 1,500 individuals in the world. It affects her eyes, skin, nails and many other parts of her body. 

Juniper’s condition requires the coordination of many of the specialties at Marshfield Children’s. Juniper is immune deficient, which means her immune system is not working properly. She meets monthly with her infectious disease doctor, Dr. Scott Olson. He provides her with infusions through a port-a-cath to help fend off infections. The Child Life team meets her there every time to distract her from this uncomfortable procedure. 

Juniper meets every 4-6 months with her pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Dennis Anderson, and retina specialist, Dr. Scott Paulman, so they can inspect her eyes. Juniper’s retina can detach and cause vessels to bleed behind her eyes. Without laser treatment, this can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye if not caught early. 

Juniper and her family are also looking into the future. She has completed genetic testing with a genetic counselor, Kyle Salsberry, to determine how Juniper got the condition and whether she would pass it down to her children. Her genetic counselor will continue to help answer any genetic questions she has in the future and provide new findings as research is done on incontinentia pigmenti.  

Juniper also has braces to help her walk. She sees Dr. Jill Meilahn regularly to make sure her braces are doing a good job. When she was one, she also spent time with the Pediatric Therapy Clubhouse physical and occupational therapy team at Marshfield Medical Center-Rice Lake. Clubhouse therapists help children and their families by enhancing child development and creating success in daily routines.

No one at Marshfield Children’s can escape Juniper’s smiles and hugs, and thanks to her social worker, Lorrie Busche, all those hugs are well coordinated.  A very helpful resource, according to her mom. 

Juniper receives all of her care through Marshfield Children’s. To keep her healthy. To keep her on the lake where she belongs. 

For the love of kids.