Eighteen years ago, new parents Claire and Michael Silver were overjoyed with the birth of their daughter, Rachel. But they soon faced a frightening scenario: at 2 months, Rachel was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). The genetic condition, which causes mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and young adults.
Rachel started receiving care at Packard Children’s from Richard Moss, MD, and her family began a lifelong relationship with the Hospital. While there is currently no cure for CF, its symptoms can be alleviated with proper treatment.
“As young parents, the last thing you imagine is that your child will be sick and require ongoing care,” explains Claire. “But when we saw how meticulous Packard’s staff was, and how they developed personal connections with each and every patient, we knew Rachel was in the best of hands.”
As they watched their daughter thrive despite her condition, Claire and Michael began thinking of ways to give back to Packard Children’s and play a more direct role in supporting CF research.
In 1997, the couple founded Audio High, based in Mountain View. The company sells and installs sophisticated music, theater, and automation systems for home and commercial use. In addition, Audio High organizes a benefit concert series, donating staff time and other resources for the events, with all proceeds supporting Packard Children’s, CF research organizations, and other health-focused groups.
Last spring, Audio High also made a generous gift of equipment and labor to upgrade Packard’s central recreation area, the Forever Young Zone, with a state-of-the-art projector, screen, and audio system.
The company plans to help build additional “rooms of magic” within the Hospital, allowing young patients to experience movies, music, and other entertainment in a high-tech setting.
Michael believes that his family’s experience has been, in its own way, a gift. “Rachel’s disease has compelled us to examine the meaning of our own lives,” he says. “I have become a better person because of my daughter, and it is her strength that has inspired us to help others.”
Today, Rachel remains healthy and is studying psychology and genetics at UC Berkeley, in preparation to become a genetic counselor.