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Vegas Stronger Champion: A+J Patient Advocacy helps parents of sick kids navigate the medical system

Posted at 8:41 AM, Jan 02, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's something no parent wants to hear: your child has a serious illness.

This month's Vegas Stronger Champion makes it her mission to help patients and families navigate our medical system during their time of need.

Adopting two kids with pre-existing medical conditions led Rebeka Acosta from a 15-year career in medical administration to a career in medical advocacy through her non-profit, A+J Patient Advocacy. She helps parents and young adults navigate the medical system to ensure they're aware of their diagnosis and their treatment options.

"In the beginning, they are very scared," Acosta says. "You have a sick kid, or you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and you know there’s some kind of diagnosis, and you don’t know how to proceed or what’s next."

She adds that feeling overwhelmed by a complex medical diagnosis is normal.

"It’s like I tell all of my parents, especially with the diagnosis for young children, you’re not supposed to know this! This is not normal knowledge and you cannot learn this in 30 seconds on YouTube. It really takes training and a lot of experience in learning how the system works, and it’s always changing," Acosta tells KTNV.

As the daughter of a social worker and a teacher, Acosta believes her services are something that everybody deserves, and she operates A+J Patient Advocacy free of charge.

One of her patients is 25-year-old Dijonasse Lofton. She's been living with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome for the last several years.

"It’s basically when you live with a high heart rate all the time," Lofton explains, "and on top of that, I have high blood pressure, and low blood pressure, so it all fluctuates up and down."

Seeing nurses and doctors has been a big part of Lofton's young adulthood, but she says that thanks to A+J Patient Advocacy, she's more optimistic than ever.

"Rebeka's been really helpful in keeping me positive, and she helps me look for new doctors all the time. She’s been helping me look for new treatment plans," Lofton added.

For her tireless work to help those in need, Rebeka Acosta is January's Vegas Stronger Champion. Jeff Giles of Findlay Automotive Group recently presented A+J Patient Advocacy with a donation to support their work.

"We heard about what you guys are doing, and we think it’s wonderful," Giles told Acosta. "Our medical system is complicated, and you are feeling at your worst, and then someone asks you to walk through a maze and fill out forms while you’re doing it. It’s so great to have a guide and an advocate for patients who need that, and so many people do."

Acosta says she appreciates the recognition and that her work "is all about our patients and making sure they have what they need, and that they are getting everything they can to live their best life."

For more stories of people making the Vegas community stronger, visit ktnv.com/vegasstronger.

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Vegas Stronger Champion is sponsored by Findlay Automotive Group.