Annie's Story

November 10, 2020
Annie at therapy graduation

Annie Nichols was just 4 years old when she slipped and fell in her family’s garage. Annie’s mom, Kelsey, credits telehealth and the expertise of Annie’s doctors at MUSC with saving her little girl’s life. She recently shared with us why they raise money for MUSC through the Annie Banannie Foundation.

On July 1, 2017, Annie suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was 4 and a half years old at the time and was playing outside with friends when she slipped on a puddle of water in the garage. This seemingly typical childhood accident almost cost Annie her life. My husband, Billy, and I rushed Annie to the emergency room in Murrells Inlet. Annie was nonresponsive. The team at Tidelands Hospital quickly moved into action and had a Life Flight on the way. In the emergency room, the doctors used telehealth to communicate with Dr. David McSwain at MUSC. They were able to get Annie stable enough for the flight to the MUSC Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, Dr. Stephen Kalhorn and Dr. Jan Vargas were able to perform a life-saving craniotomy. Dr. Ramin Eskandari stepped in as Annie’s doctor the next morning.

Three years later, we are excited to share that Annie graduated from therapy over the summer and is doing wonderful. Without these amazing doctors and nurses, our sweet Annie Banannie would not be here today!

Nearly eight weeks after Annie returned home from the hospital, we created The Annie Banannie Foundation and hosted our first fundraising event. The Annie Banannie Foundation was created alongside the MUSC Foundation with the goal to raise money for traumatic brain injury research in pediatrics at the MUSC Children’s Hospital. The team in place July 1 was able to save Annie’s life because of the education and research that was placed before them before her accident. We owe everything to the incredible doctors at MUSC Children’s Hospital. By helping fund research for brain injuries in children, our doctors will be better equipped to save other children’s lives. We are so grateful for such an amazing hospital filled with the most incredible staff. Thank you MUSC for saving Annie Banannie!

Since 2017, The Annie Banannie Foundation has hosted an annual event. This year, instead of canceling the event, we adjusted to COVID-19 regulations and hosted our first ever “All Pink” virtual dinner and silent auction Oct. 3. Hosts were asked to host small “All Pink” dinner parties and then log in to the virtual event/silent auction. Guests from Jamaica, Australia and across the country all “gathered” on the same night to raise awareness for the same cause. We are excited to share that despite the unprecedented turn of events of 2020, we were able to raise more than $62,000 – our most successful fundraising event yet! Since 2017, the Annie Banannie Foundation has raised more than $230,000 for traumatic brain injury research at the MUSC Children’s Hospital.