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Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®

Our mission for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® fundraising is simple and has been consistent for more than 30 years – to raise critical funds through in-store donation programs and through the Annual Miracle Tournament. The funds raised will ensure every child in need throughout the communities we serve receives the best possible care. The Annual Miracle Tournament continues to serve as the centerpiece of our fundraising efforts for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®. Thank you for your support!

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2024 Champion Children

This year, we have more than 50 Champion Children who serve as the face for all children treated at their local hospital. By sharing their personal stories, these children are living examples of the incredible work happening at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® member hospitals throughout the country – and why your support of this event is so critical. We are honored and grateful to welcome each of them and their families to this year’s event.

Click the cards below to read each of their stories.

Aidan
Age 11
Aidan
Age 11

Treated at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in Chicago, IL.

When Aidan was seven years old, his parents began to worry as they noticed changes in his energy levels, and regular activities like family bike rides became more and more tiring for him. At his annual doctor’s appointment, his doctor noted that he had grown just one inch in the last year, and after running some tests, his parents turned to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Aidan was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. Aidan and his parents met with members of the pediatric nephrology team, who helped Aidan understand his condition in an age-appropriate way and included him in conversations at each appointment. Aidan’s condition progressed quickly, and five months later, Aidan went on the transplant list. After confirming that she was a match, his mom made the selfless decision to donate one of her kidneys to Aidan, and they underwent surgery four months later. Through this process, Aidan found comfort through the Lurie Children’s PeerWISE program, which connects current patients with patients who were once in their shoes. Since his kidney transplant, Aidan has continued growing and meeting his milestones. He enjoys playing golf and video games and loves reading and recommending books to his family members.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Aidan received a lifesaving kidney transplant from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Audrey & Ella
Age 6
Audrey & Ella
Age 6

Treated at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's Medical Center in Waco, TX.

Identical twins Audrey and Ella were born nine weeks premature, and each weighed two pounds. They spent several weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Hospital. Despite their early arrival, the twins were healthy, and their early interventions were very minimal. However, when they were one year old, a routine doctor’s visit led to a referral to a plastic surgeon at McLane’s Children’s Hospital who found both of their skulls were developing in a triangular shape. This condition, Metopic Craniosynostosis, happens when the bone plates that make up the skull fuse too early and can lead to vision, learning and behavioral issues. Audrey and Ella required a Cranial Vault reconstruction/reconstructive surgery at 17 months old. After their ten-hour procedure, the doctors confirmed that they did not need any additional surgery. Today, the twins are six-years old and are growing and thriving. With their scars hidden beneath their hairline, you would never know of their condition.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped to purchase the equipment used for Audrey and Ella’s Craniosynostosis Cranial Vault reconstruction/reconstructive surgery.

Joseph
Age 12
Joseph
Age 12

Treated at Bernard & Millie Duker Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY.

During Joseph’s newborn screening, a blood test flagged a rate metabolic genetic disorder, called galactosemia. Galactosemia prevents the body from breaking down the sugar galactose, causing it to build up in the blood and wreak havoc on organs. While waiting for further test results, Joseph was admitted to the emergency room with a fever, and at that point had become septic, which eventually resulted in meningitis. Doctors prescribed him strong antibiotics, which was lifesaving, but unfortunately caused unilateral hearing loss.

Because of galactosemia, Joseph must adhere to a strict diet. There currently is no treatment or cure for galactosemia, only dietary restrictions. His family has become creative chefs, finding new recipes and workarounds to meet Joseph’s dietary needs.

Today, Joseph is 12 years old. He enjoys soccer, swimming, riding his bike, and playing fortnight. Last year, Joseph obtained his black belt in taekwondo.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals help patients and families like Joseph’s receive ongoing, specialized care.

Kennedy
Age 6
Kennedy
Age 6

Treated at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.

The joy of Kennedy’s birth changed to fear when she stopped feeding and her oxygen levels dropped. After six weeks with no answers at a local hospital, Kennedy’s parents drove 90 minutes to Boston Children’s Hospital, where extensive testing revealed Kennedy had a rare condition where her weak trachea could collapse to block the airway, making it hard to breathe. Her doctor explained that Kennedy needed a tracheotomy to keep her airway stable. After 136 days at Boston Children’s, nine-month-old Kennedy was able to go home. The care team helped the family understand how to access benefits for children with complex medical needs, including the care of an at-home nurse. Six years later, Kennedy visits Boston Children’s for check-ups and is making great progress, working toward being able to walk on her own. Kennedy is a proud big sister and loves music and seeing her friends at school.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supported Kennedy over her 136 days of care with Child Life Specialists, music therapy, and visits from therapy dogs.

Meg
Age 10
Meg
Age 10

Treated at Carilion Children's in Roanoke, VA.

Ten-year-old Meg has a rare genetic condition called CTBP, and scoliosis. At the age of nine, Meg had a full spinal fusion once her curve hit 101 degrees, a surgery that saved her life. Thanks to her care team at Carilion Children’s, Meg has access to all the therapies, doctors, and equipment she needs close to home. Meg loves babies, puppies, her American Girl Dolls, and playing with her big sisters!

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Meg has access to world-class doctors and surgeons treating her genetic condition and scoliosis at Carilion Children’s Hospital.

Kaleb
Age 12
Kaleb
Age 12

Treated at Children's Health in Dallas, TX.

When Jenifer was 20 weeks pregnant, she learned that her baby's, heart was on the right, instead of the left side of his body. This meant he would need surgery shortly after birth to help his blood flow properly. Kaleb's parents chose Children’s Health because not only would they have an expert surgeon, but an entire care team dedicated to their baby’s health. Kaleb was born six weeks early with a heart defect that impacted the way blood flowed through his lungs, meaning his pulmonary veins, which carry blood from the lungs to the heart, weren't working well. Kaleb’s doctors made the difficult decision to try a surgery that had only been performed once, unsuccessfully. Kaleb underwent surgery at 9 days old – placing two stints to keep oxygenated blood flowing throughout his body – and it worked so well that the procedure has become the standard of care for all babies born with this heart defect. He also lives with heterotaxy syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that can affect the development of important systems like the heart and gastrointestinal tract. Living with heterotaxy is difficult, unpredictable and requires long-term monitoring and care. But Kaleb’s care team and family do everything they can to keep him as healthy as possible, so he can focus on regular kid things — like swimming, Legos, Minecraft and learning everything he can about U.S. presidents. Every Halloween, Kaleb dresses up as a different U.S. president. He also loves animals, especially his Goldendoodle. “Her name is Jefferson, after President Thomas Jefferson. And yep, she’s a girl,” Kaleb said.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Kaleb had access to an innovative, life-saving heart surgeon and care team.

Connor
Age 12
Connor
Age 12

Treated at Children's Health Foundation in Oklahoma City, OK.

At a routine 18-week ultrasound, Connor was diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida and hydrocephalus. His family met with the neurosurgery team at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City to learn how to prepare for Connor’s care after birth. He was born at 36 weeks and was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where he stayed for 10 days. His first surgery was at two days old to close the hole in his back to protect his exposed spinal cord. Then, three days later he had brain surgery to place a shunt to drain the fluid in his brain (hydrocephalus). Just before he turned two, he began having long, life-threatening seizures. The seizures have caused Connor to have speech and cognitive delays. Connor receives occupational, physical and speech therapies to help with his development. Over the last 12 years, Connor has had 26 surgeries. Connor has paralysis in his lower half and has required multiple orthopedic surgeries in the last few years to correct his scoliosis, hip dysplasia, and some broken bones caused by low bone density. He loves watching sports, swimming, and watching his big sister dance. He enjoys playing adaptive baseball and attending Wheelie Club, an all-abilities club of varying activities.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped Connor receive life-saving care in the NICU and through his numerous surgeries.

Maelle
Age 14
Maelle
Age 14

Treated at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO.

At age 4, Maelle began to complain that her head hurt and her eyes started crossing. Doctors discovered a three-centimeter mass in her brain and immediately sent the family to Children’s Hospital Colorado where Maelle had a biopsy.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado diagnosed Maelle with a non-cancerous pilocytic astrocytoma. Due to the tumors’ precarious location, it was deemed inoperable. After careful consideration, Maelle’s family and care team decided to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy. After seven months of chemotherapy, the tumor had shrunk significantly, and they were able to cease treatment and return to normal life.

For two years, Maelle enjoyed life outside of the hospital and became an avid volleyball player. But unfortunately, during a routine check-up, doctors discovered that Maelle’s tumor had started growing again. In January of 2021, Maelle began a new experimental treatment to help reduce the growth of the tumor. Maelle continued to remain in the best of spirits and came off the treatment in February of 2023.

Whilst the treatment saw limited success, she has been off all medication since. Maelle continues to visit Children’s Hospital Colorado to monitor the tumors’ progress and is excited to start high school next year! The family has hope in the groundbreaking research being conducted at Children’s Hospital Colorado to find new treatments and therapies for kids like Maelle.

“Words can’t describe what Children’s Colorado means to us,” says her mom, Kristen. “A hospital isn’t a place where most people would choose to be. And yet, I always feel at ease here, knowing that our daughter is getting the best care available. They are nothing short of amazing.”

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Maelle benefits from groundbreaking research being conducted by her local member hospital.

Melody
Age 12
Melody
Age 12

Treated at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA.

Melody was born with a rare congenital condition where string-like bands of tissue wrap around fingers and toes. Amniotic band syndrome is non-preventable and affects one in 15,000 births annually. Melody faced her condition with grace and her family was referred to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she has received comprehensive support. To date, Melody has had four surgical procedures to separate her fingers and remove excess skin to improve her hands’ functionality. Today, Melody proudly tells people about her unique hands. She loves doing art and celebrates her uniqueness.

Thanks to support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Melody has received access to donor-funded programs, providing a lifeline of support for the areas of greatest need in children’s health care.

Porter
Age 12
Porter
Age 12

Treated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA.

Porter was born with Down syndrome at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where the care team helped his family understand the medical, cognitive, and social complexities to ensure he could have the best quality of life. From the beginning, specialists provided education through their Trisomy 21 Symposiums, which helped Porter’s family build a support network of other families going through similar experiences. During the medical procedures and hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses, Porter’s family was grateful for the opportunity to participate in a few clinical trials through CHOP, helping to build a body of research that will pave a positive future for other individuals with intellectual disabilities. “Porter is thriving today because we’ve got a team that sees him as a person with a bright future,” his mom says, adding that “the team at CHOP has always been by our side.” Now 12 years old, Porter plays drums in the school band. He loves horseback riding, baseball, Tae Kwon Do, and Special Olympics swimming.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Porter and his family received incredible care and support, including music and art therapy.

Sam
Age 15
Sam
Age 15

Treated at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, VA.

At 11 years old, Sam’s parents noticed that something wasn’t quite right. The energetic, competitive tennis player said he felt tired all the time and was often cold, his appetite disappeared and he lost some weight. His pediatrician ordered bloodwork and a few hours later, called the family and asked them to bring Sam immediately to the emergency department at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD). Sam was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia and had a mass in his lungs, close to his heart. Sam was admitted to CHKD and immediately started treatment. A week later, his mass was barely visible. Although he was discharged, Sam returned to CHKD several more times over the next year for additional treatment. During his nine hospital stays, Sam realized how fortunate he was to have his mom and dad with him every step of the way. He decided that when his cancer treatment was over, he wanted to help other families by fundraising for CHKD. Two years after his initial trip to the emergency department, Sam was in remission and had raised more than $100,000 to help families with a child in the hospital. Today, Sam is back in school and focused on getting stronger. His family says they are incredibly thankful for Sam’s recovery, the staff at CHKD, and everyone who has donated to help CHKD patients and families.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Sam received quick, lifesaving treatment for his T-cell leukemia and is a strong, healthy 15-year-old.

Mason
Age 13
Mason
Age 13

Treated at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C..

Mason was 12 weeks old when he had open heart surgery at Children’s National Hospital to repair his rare congenital heart condition: Tetralogy of Fallot. Before the surgery, his doctor made a crucial discovery—Mason had only one coronary artery and it was not in the right place—an additional congenital abnormality. While Mason’s care team didn’t know exactly what was to come, his Child Life specialist and Housing & Amenities Coordinator did an amazing job supporting his family during this uncertain time. Little details meant so much to his family, like bringing clothing to Mason’s mom during her stay, explaining things to his seven-year-old sister, and helping his grandparents travel to the hospital from Alabama. Mason is now 13 years old and has had a few surgeries since his initial procedure, and still remains connected to the hospital that saved his life. He loves playing video games, playing the saxophone and piano, making music, DJing and spending time with his family.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Mason had access to critical cardiac care to repair his heart condition, helping him lead a happy and healthy life.

Gabby
Age 15
Gabby
Age 15

Treated at Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, New Jersey.

Thirteen-year-old Gabriella (Gabby) was running at track practice when suddenly she felt her left arm drop on her last lap. After she lost feeling in her arm, she quickly lost sensation in her left leg and fell to the ground. Gabby was rushed to the pediatric unit of a local trauma center. The hospital immediately took her for a CAT scan, which revealed a brain bleed. After several tests, the doctors diagnosed Gabby with a rare brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture in her right frontal lobe.

She had to wait 10 days for a craniotomy to remove the AVM because they needed the blood to settle in her brain. A few days after surgery, Gabby was transferred to Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH) for inpatient therapy. AVMs cause stroke-like symptoms, in Gabby’s case, paralysis of the left side of her body and facial weakness. For 19 days in a pediatric intensive care unit, Gabby couldn’t move or sit up. During the five weeks she spent at CSH, Gabby received physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapies, including aquatic therapy and targeted ways to help her walk again and smile symmetrically. Gabby arrived wheelchair-bound and successfully walked out of CSH on her own. Since then, started practicing soccer and lacrosse again.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped Gabby benefit from various forms of therapies that supported her road to recovery.

Cash
Age 15
Cash
Age 15

Treated at CHOC Hospital in Orange, CA.

Cash was 13 years old when he was playing football in a park and collapsed on the field. He went into cardiac arrest and the paramedics arrived within minutes. After repeated shocks and IV medication in the local emergency room, he was transported to CHOC Hospital to receive care from a recently formed collaboration between CHOC and UCLA Health pediatric heart specialists. The specialists diagnosed Cash with an anomalous left coronary artery (ALCA), a rare condition that disrupts the flow of blood to the heart. Since only one percent of the population is born with it, sudden cardiac arrest during exertion may be the first sign of ALCA and that’s what happened to Cash. He spent 33 days at CHOC Hospital before he was stable enough to go home. Now 15, Cash manages his condition with medications to support optimal heart function. Cash does his best to stay positive, spends time with family and friends, and enjoys traveling to new places.

Thanks to support for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Cash was able to receive life-saving surgery and highly specialized care.

Drew
Age 9
Drew
Age 9

Treated at CHRISTUS Children’s in San Antonio, TX.

Drew was a happy, healthy two-year-old who had never been ill. He never even had an earache before he was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted into the H-E-B Emergency Department at CHRISTUS Children’s after a very high fever. When pneumonia didn’t improve, he was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and underwent surgery to clear out his lungs, followed by a blood transfusion the next day. Drew’s vitals dropped extremely low, causing him to go into cardiac arrest. After his second surgery, he was able come off the ventilator, but then his anaphylactic allergic reaction to antibiotics caused another setback. His mother says “the PICU team will always have a special place in our hearts. They gave us the greatest gift: Drew’s life.” Today, Drew has fully recovered. He is a fun-loving, sweet nine-year-old that loves Marvel and LEGOS. He stays busy on the weekends playing football, baseball, and basketball.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Drew benefited from a brand new PICU ventilator to support his complex care and Child Life services for his family.

Mason
Age 8
Mason
Age 8

Treated at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York.

At the age of three, Mason started having prolonged fevers. During these extended periods, he would be lethargic, irritable, and barely able to eat. Even with the bruises on his skin, Mason’s primary physician told his parents that it was just a virus. A month later, his mom knew something wasn’t right so she took Mason to the emergency department of Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Shortly after he was admitted, Mason was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For three years, he underwent chemotherapy treatments and has also had long hospital stays due to infections or low white blood cell count. Today, Mason is in remission and celebrated it by ringing the bell. Mason loves life, baseball, and ice hockey.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fund life-saving treatments that help kids like Mason and their families cope during hospital stays.

Molly
Age 16
Molly
Age 16

Treated at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX.

Less than two weeks after Molly started experiencing numbness in her face, she was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a type of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. Molly underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor and has recently finished chemotherapy. Molly’s dad said that while he could never have imagined hearing the word cancer, he finds comfort in knowing how much the hospital staff cares for his daughter. “Cook Children’s is a big part of this new life that we have to live while we get through this season,” he said. “It’s not just us fighting this fight. While the journey hasn’t been easy, Molly has worked to express any fears and concerns with the support of Child Life specialists.”

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helps families like Molly’s with support during her hospital stays and preparation for care at home.

Braylen & Rylee
Braylen & Rylee

Treated at Corewell Health Children's in Detroit, MI.

Ages 12 & 10

Braylen was born weighing two pounds and one ounce. Since he was a premature baby, by the time he turned three, he was diagnosed with severe receptive and expressive language delay. His communication difficulties made it hard for him to connect with his peers. Braylen began receiving speech therapy through Corewell Health Children’s and was enrolled in the RE/MAX Communication Preschool Program to learn in a school-based environment where children are free of judgment. Through various therapies and the preschool curriculum, Braylen gradually began finding his voice and expanding his ability to connect with others. His mom says, “the greatest joy is that he is now able to better communicate not only with family but his peers. Each step forward, no matter how small, is a testament to his determination and unwavering spirit.”

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped Braylen receive the therapy he needed to communicate with his peers and family.

Rylee lights up a room with her radiant energy. At four years old, she was diagnosed with severe mixed receptive and expressive language disorder and started receiving speech services at Corewell Health Children’s RE/MAX Communication Preschool Program. Despite her struggles with language, Rylee’s intelligence shines through. With the support of her family, speech therapists, preschool educators, and her Corewell Health Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals team, Rylee made remarkable strides in overcoming the challenges posed by her language disorder. Today, Rylee’s keen sense of creativity and ability to think outside the box matches her determination and strong spirit. She understands firsthand the frustrations of struggling to be heard and understood, and thus, she has become a fierce advocate not only for her own needs but for others as well.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Rylee is able to use her words to communicate and advocate for others with shared experiences.

Carah
Age 17
Carah
Age 17

Treated at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton, OH.

At the age of three, Carah was diagnosed with childhood-onset fluency disorder (also known as stuttering). While most children outgrow a stutter by the age of 5, Carah did not. In 6th grade, a substitute teacher mocked her in class, leaving Carah spiraling with her self-esteem and confidence plummeting. She mentally and emotionally struggled and didn’t want to go to school. Carah saw countless speech therapists over the years but never felt there was a right fit as the focus was placed on her speech fluency and less on the deep, lingering emotional trauma she was experiencing. That changed when Carah turned to Dayton Children’s Speech Therapy Program. “...from the time we walked through those speech therapy doors, they took the time to actually talk with Carah and dug deeper to the parts that people can’t see. And helped Carah in learning tools and techniques to navigate those feelings and mental roadblocks,” her mom said. Carah will always have a stutter; however, she’s learned that her condition does not steal the power of her own voice. One way she’s doing that is by educating her former middle school by giving a keynote speech every year, now part of her school’s curriculum, about stuttering, understanding yourself and your feelings, and bullying. “Stuttering is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me. I have a lot of goals set for the future and I’m just getting started,” Carah said.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Carah received life-changing support from Dayton Children’s Speech Therapy Program, helping her self-esteem grow as she navigates Child Onset Fluency Disorder.

Paislie
Age 7
Paislie
Age 7

Treated at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX.

Paislie lights up the room with her bright smile and big energy, but there was a time when things weren’t so bright in her life. After searching for answers to explain the sudden loss of movement in her leg, Paislie was diagnosed was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At four years old, Driscoll Children’s Hospital became ‘home’ for Paislie and her family. She began an intense chemotherapy regimen while celebrating her birthday and the holidays in the hospital. As with any child with cancer, Paislie experienced several highs and lows throughout her treatment and even came close to losing a kidney. Thankfully doctors at Driscoll were able to able to provide her with the lifesaving care she needed to not only treat her cancer but also to save her kidney and send her on a path to creating more milestones. Paislie rang the bell to mark her last chemotherapy treatment at six years old. She continues to receive follow-up care at Driscoll’s Cancer and Blood Disorder Center, and her prognosis is good. Today, Paislie is back to doing what she loves – riding horses, cheerleading, and spending time with friends and family.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helps fund important hospital programs such as Child Life, where specialists make sure kids like Paislie are comfortable, entertained, and at ease before procedures.

Braeden
Age 9
Braeden
Age 9

Treated at Duke Children's in Durham, NC.

At 18 weeks pregnant with twins, Stephanie learned something was wrong. Braeden, “Baby B,” was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, one of the most severe congenital heart defects. The prognosis was unclear. After researching options, Braeden’s parents chose to go with Duke Children’s, where he could receive the outpatient care he needed close to home. In advance of his birth, the staff gave them a tour of the facilities and set up meetings with their surgeon to ask questions. Over the next couple of years, Braeden returned to Duke Children’s for heart catheters and two more big surgeries, and his parents found comfort in nurses and doctors who truly cared. The medical teams continue to find innovative ways to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome so more kids like Braeden can live their lives to the fullest. Now Braeden is nine years old and his sense of humor makes everyone around him smile.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Braeden received world- class medical care close to home at Duke Children’s.

ZaLayaa
Age 12
ZaLayaa
Age 12

Treated at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, MN.

Twelve-year-old ZaLayaa has experienced a variety of sensory and complex medical conditions since she was an infant. Her symptoms have impacted her daily life, and to this day, their underlying cause remains a mystery. Over the years, her family has actively sought answers from doctors, heard different theories, and tried numerous treatments. Once they made it to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, her mom says “that made a world of difference.” Gillette’s medical team brought a new approach to ZaLayaa’s care. Rather than focusing on solving the puzzle of her diagnosis, her care team addresses the real-life issues ZaLayaa was facing every day. Now, she sees more than 25 different providers at Gillette, receiving comprehensive evaluations with pediatric medicine and rehabilitation specialists, along with numerous physical and occupational therapy appointments. Gillette’s therapeutic recreation specialists have allowed her to enjoy an accessible playground and an adaptive bicycle. She has been waterskiing, run from third base to home plate at a Minnesota Twins game, and impressed fellow golfers with her swing on the course.

The support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has allowed ZaLayaa to reach new milestones on her health journey with innovative complex care teams and Therapeutic Recreation.

Libbi
Age 5
Libbi
Age 5

Treated at Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, FL.

At just 20 months old, Libbiana (Libbi) was diagnosed with stage 2 Wilms tumor in the height of the pandemic. On the day that Libbi was planning to ring the bell to celebrate being cancer-free at Golisano Children’s Hospital, her family learned that the cancer had come back and that it was growing rapidly. It consumed Libbi’s entire abdominal and pelvic area, compressing her bladder, intestines, and lungs. Despite strong chemotherapy, the tumor wasn’t shrinking. A risky and complicated surgery became the only option for her survival. Thankfully, by the time Libbi turned three, she had beat Wilms tumor twice. Over the course of 150 nights and an additional 150 days in the oncology clinic, Libbi overcame major emergency surgeries, being on a ventilator, blood and platelet transfusions, the removal of a kidney, intensive chemotherapy, and so much more. Today, Libbi is five years old, cancer-free, and healthy. She and her family love to share her story to give hope to other families.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals ensured that Libbi and her family had the care and support they needed as she fought to beat cancer.

London
Age 9
London
Age 9

Treated at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI/New Bedford, MA.

At 18 weeks gestation, London’s parents wanted to find out their baby’s gender. A high-level ultrasound soon confirmed that their baby was a girl--and that she would be born with spina bifida. Her parents did everything they could to learn about the diagnosis in preparation. Dr. Petra Klinge, a neurosurgeon at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, not only reassured them, but she also gave them hope. The day after London was born, Dr. Klinge performed an intricate eight-hour surgery to close the skin and spinal cord on the tiny newborn’s spine. When London was still not walking at 18 months, early intervention specialists advised her parents to consider leg braces and a walker, but instead they turned to Hasbro’s Pediatric Rehabilitation team and continued physical therapy. Just after turning two years old, London got up and walked across the room for the first time on her own. Now nine years old, London loves to dance and play soccer, and she is training for a Black Belt. She continues to amaze everyone with her vibrant smile and personality.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped London get the support of her local pediatric rehabilitation program.

Vignesh
Age 13
Vignesh
Age 13

Treated at John R. Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY.

Born in India, Vignesh was adopted by his family at five years old. Vignesh was diagnosed with spina bifida, as well as hydrocephalus, a condition in which the body is not able to rid of excess fluid in the brain. He also experienced hearing loss and needed a cochlear implant surgery while in India. At Oishei Children’s Hospital, Vignesh underwent four surgeries, one of which was to replace his current shunt with a new one. At the age of nine, Vignesh received a new cochlear implant and is doing amazing. His family is grateful for the tremendous support and care at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals help patients like Vignesh receive exceptional care and specialized occupational therapy.

Gavin
Age 12
Gavin
Age 12

Treated at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.

You would never know by looking at Gavin that he spent the first five years of his life battling debilitating ailments and undergoing countless treatments for an undiagnosed disease. Gavin was just three months old when he started experiencing persistent high fevers, rashes, vomiting, and blood in his intestinal tract. Early tests confirmed elevated liver enzymes and inflammatory markers in his blood. Gavin received treatment for his symptoms, but nothing seemed to cure the cause. When he was just two years old, Gavin had surgery for his kidneys at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The surgery was successful, but Gavin continued to suffer from his ailments. For the next three years, Gavin endured several colonoscopies, biopsies, and MRIs without a definite diagnosis. At five years old, after discovering ulcers throughout Gavin’s intestinal tract, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease- an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract. Crohn’s disease is rare in young children and often undetectable. Today, he receives IV infusion treatments every four weeks and is living a much healthier life. Gavin is an 12-year-old who loves all things golf-related, riding roller coasters, swimming, reading, and has a zest for life.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Gavin received a diagnosis and receives ongoing infusion treatment help improve his quality of life.

Emme & Elle
Emme & Elle

Treated at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, MD.

Before Emerson (Emme) was born at 25 weeks, she and her twin sister, Elle, were given a 10-15% chance of survival. At Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Emme had her first brain surgery at 21 days old. She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy, and she recently underwent seven brain surgeries including a right lobe hemispherectomy to help with seizures and motor function. Despite her long, tough journey, Emme continues to conquer every challenge that comes her way. She has found comfort in the music therapy program, where loves singing the Beluga song with her music therapist.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fund the music therapy program that offers Emme comfort throughout her medical journey.

Elle was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation, with a brain bleed that caused hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder caused by an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of her brain. Elle and her twin sister, Emme, were both given a 10-15% chance of survival. Elle spent 106 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with her sister. Elle benefited from the power of play by working closely with Child Life specialists and she loved the special NICU teddy bears, the mobiles, and the play pads. Today, Elle loves dancing, playing, and being her sister Emme’s number one supporter.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supported Elle and her family by generously covering the treatment not covered by insurance.

Lucy
Age 10
Lucy
Age 10

Treated at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington, KY.

At ?rst, eight-year-old Lucy’s parents thought she’d caught strep throat, or maybe the ?u. But as her symptoms progressed to a high fever and an upset stomach over the course of the week, they realized their daughter was dealing with something worse. Lucy’s pediatrician tested her for something called Multisystem In?ammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C: a rare syndrome associated with COVID. “We were just ruling it out” was the mindset behind running blood work that led to Lucy’s diagnosis. “[Our pediatrician] said, ‘We’ve already called ahead to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, and they have a room for you. You need to go immediately.’” MIS-C can lead to major in?ammation of the organ systems, skin, and brain, and most children with the condition arrive at the hospital in bad shape. When Lucy was admitted, her blood pressure was low and her heart was beating way too fast. Lucy’s doctors and her parents quickly made the decision to transfer her to Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). After several days in the PICU, Lucy’s condition began to improve. Soon she was discharged to recover fully at home. Lucy’s family is deeply grateful to the medical professionals at Kentucky Children’s Hospital for ensuring their story has a happy, healthy ending.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Lucy had access to lifesaving care at Kentucky Children’s as she recovered from MIS-C.

Gracie
Age 11
Gracie
Age 11

Treated at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, NC.

At nine years old, Gracie found a bump below her ribs. After an ultrasound and an MRI, the doctors didn’t think the bump was cancerous, but they did a biopsy just in case. It took over two weeks to receive a final diagnosis: a rare soft tissue cancer called CIC-DUX4 sarcoma. Since there had been less than 200 reported cases to date, there was no definitive treatment plan. Over the next six months, Gracie underwent surgery, intensive chemotherapy, and IV infusions at Levine Children’s Hospital. Now in remission, 11-year-old Gracie helps other kids fighting cancer and lights up every room she enters. She returned to school as a fifth grader and is back to her favorite past time: playing soccer.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the Child Life program at Levine Children’s Hospital has the resources needed to give kids like Gracie the best and most comfortable care.

Camryn
Age 11
Camryn
Age 11

Treated at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Hudson Valley, NY.

Camryn was diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease three weeks after birth. For most of her life, her disease had been managed. Four years ago, Camryn was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease (a narrowing of blood vessels in the brain). Her sickled blood cells would only complicate this condition. Camryn was in need of a stem cell transplant and her oldest sister, Skylar, was selected as her donor. Camryn was admitted to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and Skylar’s stem cells were harvested and transplanted into Camryn. It was inspiring for her family to witness this life-saving exchange among sisters! Camryn was hospitalized for 88 days and she found solace in the extraordinary care, and encouragement she received before, during and after her transplant. Today Camryn is feeling great and is an incredible advocate for the care she received at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Camryn received care and support as she underwent a stem cell transplant at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Vinny
Age 12
Vinny
Age 12

Treated at Medical University South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital in Charleston, SC.

At 48 hours old, Vinny was diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease, a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the body’s ability to eliminate stool. Under the care of the team at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, Vinny underwent a 4.5-hour lifesaving surgery.

Vinny spent one month in the hospital recovering. Despite the hurdles associated with his condition, he defied the odds and blossomed into a healthy, vibrant kid. The compassionate care he received from MUSC staff played a pivotal role in Vinny's remarkable recovery and ongoing well-being. Vinny received follow-up care from special teams at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and has not required a return visit since he was ten.

Now 12 years old and in the sixth grade, Vinny is a lover of sports, and can often be found on the tennis court, hanging out with his two sisters, or surfing. His true passion is playing soccer. Last year, he was selected and traveled to Madrid, Spain, to compete in the Real Madrid World Challenge tournament!

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Vinny had access to specialized care and world-class surgeons at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

Myla
Age 9
Myla
Age 9

Treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Toledo, OH.

Two weeks before Myla’s sixth birthday she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Myla’s diagnoses came during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, Myla’s dad had to wait out in the van while they remained in the emergency room. It was through a video call that he heard the words “your child has cancer.” Myla initially spent ten days in the hospital where she had surgery to have her port placed, receive her first few rounds of chemotherapy, and many blood transfusions. After her release from the hospital, Myla began experiencing severe neuropathy. She had difficulty walking, using her hands, and her vocal cords were becoming paralyzed. Myla tested positive for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). Two weeks later, she was sent home with many mobility and occupational therapy devices to help her regain her independence.

Today, Myla is nine and has returned to things she loved to do before her diagnosis- like riding a bike, doing ballet, and going to school. Myla keeps a smile on her face and takes things one day at a time!

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Myla had access to the therapies, specialists, and equipment that helped her overcome leukemia and get back to all her favorite activities.

Jaxon
Age 8
Jaxon
Age 8

Treated at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, FL.

After a seemingly healthy pregnancy, Jaxon’s parents were told not to worry by medical providers by a few early signals that something seemed off. Thankfully, his uncle noticed the ridge along Jaxon’s forehead and did not believe the triangular shape of Jaxon’s head was caused by the trauma of delivery. At two weeks old, a CAT scan confirmed Jaxon’s metopic craniosynostosis, where the soft spot at the top of his head had been prematurely fused together in the womb. Jaxon’s parents took him to the renowned Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Brain Institute. At seven months old, Jaxon underwent an eight-hour cranial procedure at Nicklaus Children’s. Despite the challenges, he was in good hands, even combatting other anomalies such as the misalignment of the eyes, a hole in his heart, a horseshoe-shaped kidney, and more. Given the range of birth defects their son faced, Jaxon’s parents’ genetics testing at Nicklaus Children’s confirmed that he had a rare gene mutation in CDK13. There wasn’t much known about CDK13 at the time. Today, nearly 300 cases have been identified globally. For now, Jaxon’s parents treat each symptom as it arises. He struggles with tasks requiring the use of his hands and motor skills, and his ADHD and moderate autism made everyday life and academic tasks challenging. And yet, he continues to make remarkable progress in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Jaxon’s resilience and carefree, fun personality positively inspires all the lives he touches.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals support the clinical institutes and personalized care that allow Jaxon to make remarkable progress on his journey.

Maddie & Max
Maddie & Max

Treated at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, OR.

Ages 12 & 10

Madison (Maddie) has only known life with cystic fibrosis. A few days after she was born, she was transferred to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for a bowel obstruction. After undergoing the procedure, she stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 30 days. Two years later, Maddie’s little brother, Max, was also diagnosed with a bowel obstruction. His parents knew to go to the NICU at Doernbecher where his sister received care. Max’s severe bowel obstruction and jejunoileal atresia led to his diagnosis of cystic fibrosis too. As Maddie grew up, her condition began affecting her liver, and when she was 10, she was diagnosed with CF-associated liver disease. While their parents wouldn’t wish the diagnosis on either of their children, they see how Maddie and Max support each other on their shared health journeys. Maddie, now 12, loves art, playing golf and wants to be a veterinarian. 10-year-old Max is an all-star baseball player and his favorite position is shortstop. Maddie and Max continue to lean on one another as they manage their condition and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

Thanks to the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Maddie and Max received quality care during their stay in the NICU at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Celeste
Age 5
Celeste
Age 5

Treated at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, FL.

During their 20-week ultrasound, Akosua and Fernando learned that their baby had spina bifida. Determined to explore all options, they reached out to the Fetal Care Center at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies after learning the hospital offered in-utero surgery for babies with this diagnosis. Within a week, Akosua started an evaluation to see if she and her baby were suitable for in-utero surgery, and thankfully, they were. At 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Akosua underwent surgery to correct the defect in Celeste’s spine. Seven weeks later, Celeste was born, weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces. After a short stay in the neonatal intensive care unit to ensure her health, she was able to go home. Now, at five years old, Celeste is thriving. She walks on her own and enjoys gymnastics, swimming and playing with her sister. Celeste is smart, playful, determined and kind. Celeste goes to weekly physical therapy, and as she grows, she will continue to receive care at the Spina Bifida Clinic at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped fund the fetal surgery program and the state-of-the-art ultrasound machine used to detect spina bifida in kids like Celeste.

Benjamin
Age 6
Benjamin
Age 6

Treated at Penn State Health Children's Hospital in Lancaster, PA.

When Benjamin was born a month early, medical staff realized immediately that he wasn’t crying or breathing correctly. “Everything that could be wrong with his lungs seemed to be wrong,” said Ben's mom, Danielle. He was transported by a pediatric ambulance that was funded by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, which had the highest level NICU and a high-oscillating ventilator that could save his life. Because Benjamin’s condition was so critical, a doctor explained that he may need a form of life-support called ECMO, a machine that was also purchased by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “I remember signing the consent for the ECMO and asking the doctor if we have to go to ECMO, and that doesn’t work, is there anything beyond that? And she said no. Knowing that we were at that point was very scary,” shared Danielle. “But he’s a strong guy. He rallied and did so well.” A few weeks later, Benjamin was able to go home, and today is a happy, healthy kid! Benjamin loves baseball, soccer and Cub Scouts. He loves trains, bridges, and building things with Legos. He also loves the Pittsburgh Steelers and got to go to Pittsburgh to attend his first game!

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Benjamin received life-saving care with the use of a pediatric ambulance and ECMO machine, allowing him to live a healthy life.

Landon
Age 12
Landon
Age 12

Treated at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, CA.

A soccer super fan, Landon played whenever he could and scored seven goals in just one game. Things took a turn when eight-year-old Landon couldn’t run the length of the field without losing his breath. He was rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital, where it was discovered he had a mass that spanned his entire chest, collapsing his lung and putting pressure on his heart and kidneys. Landon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and the stage 4 cancer had spread throughout his body. He faced a host of challenging procedures, including draining fluids from his lungs, a chest tube installation, a pic line installation, a bone marrow aspiration, and a lumbar puncture. Due to the severity of his condition, Landon could not be put under anesthesia, intensifying how excruciating these procedures were for Landon and his family. Luckily, the Child Life and Parent Liaison teams stepped in to provide peace and comfort to his family when they needed it most. Landon’s initial diagnosis came in the fall of 2020, which meant that he spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year in the hospital, under strict isolation protocol. After three long years of hospital stays and frequent visits, Landon had his port removed and plans to finish his treatment with the use of an IV. This year, he will conclude his cancer treatment, and get to return to the sports and activities he loves.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supported Landon and his family with Child Life and Parent Liaison programs to offer comfort as he battled cancer.

Cassidy
Age 6
Cassidy
Age 6

Treated at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN.

Cassidy has a rare immunodeficiency and has been treated at Riley Hospital for Children since she was five months old. When Cassidy was six months old, she became very ill with croup. Within a matter of minutes of being triaged in the Riley Emergency Department, she stopped breathing on her own and was intubated and sedated for several days while doctors began to research a diagnosis and treatment plan. After several days, she was intubated. Her family says they were thankful for a diagnosis of croup at the time, this began our long journey of discovering the impact that a minor respiratory illness could have on Cassidy. After several years, her family discovered that she has a rare immunodeficiency with cold induced urticaria. Cassidy is now in kindergarten and thanks to a wonderful care team, she has avoided inpatient treatment since her hospital visit four years ago.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Cassidy has received lifelong support for her rare immunodeficiency condition.

Aisley
Age 7
Aisley
Age 7

Treated at Seattle Children's Hospital in Seattle, WA.

Aisley’s parents took their 3-year-old daughter to her pediatrician when she began experiencing frequent headaches and vomiting, was especially tired and was eating less than usual. Aisley’s pediatrician referred her to Seattle Children’s, where an MRI revealed a life-threatening tumor that was pushing her brain to one side. She needed to go to the intensive care unit immediately, and then undergo emergency brain surgery. Aisley’s parents were stunned. Three days later, Aisley had a six-hour surgery to remove and biopsy her tumor. To pinpoint her exact diagnosis, pathologists used molecular testing - a type of precision medicine testing that was launched just a few years prior. The results showed Aisley had a rare and aggressive brain cancer. Her treatment included six months of chemotherapy, then six weeks of radiation to remove any remaining cancer cells. Her radiation oncology team significantly reduced the risk of damage to Aisley’s brain by using proton therapy to protect areas critical for language, memory and learning. Aisley completed her treatment one year later and continues to have MRI scans every six months – she remains cancer-free today. Thanks to generous donors to the Uncompensated Care Fund, the ongoing costs of the hearing aids Aisley needs are covered. Today, Aisley is an active 7-year-old on a competitive dance team. She loves doing cartwheels, swimming and playing with her sister, Elin.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Aisley had access to innovative cancer care at Seattle Children’s on her way to remission.

Colbie & Kenna
Colbie & Kenna

Treated at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Las Vegas, NV.

Sixteen years ago, Colbie and Kenna’s parents were excitedly expecting their first children, twin girls. Everything was routine until their mother noticed some discomfort and headed to the hospital. Staff at St. Rose Dominican Hospital quickly determined that something wasn’t right. At 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant, she was slowly leaking amniotic fluid. After doing everything medically possible to delay the birth, the girls were born 15 weeks early. Colbie weighed just 1lb 6oz and Kenna weighed 1lb 5oz. The girls were in the neonatal intensive care unit for 113 days. They each faced their own struggles and were still on oxygen, but one week after their original due date, they were finally able to go home. They continued to grow and develop without any major delays. Today the girls are doing better than ever. Kenna plays competitive soccer and is on the varsity track team. Colbie is part of the National Honors Society and plays the electric guitar. Both girls volunteer for the Unified Special Olympics through their school district.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Colbie and Kenna had access to lifesaving care in the neonatal intensive care unit after being born 15 weeks prematurely.

Kylea
Age 15
Kylea
Age 15

Treated at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX.

Kylea was born prematurely at 34 weeks in Kansas, and she tested positive for cystic fibrosis (CF). Her medical team thought it was a false positive since she had no symptoms. Months later, Kylea was still under five pounds. Her mom took her to the emergency center at a nearby children’s hospital in Missouri, where Kylea was admitted for jaundice. After a liver biopsy and other tests, including blood tests to look for the genetic mutations that cause CF, the family got confirmation: Kylea had two copies of delta F508, the most common genetic mutation that causes cystic fibrosis. Once she had an official diagnosis, Kylea’s family turned to Texas Children’s Hospital since they were ranked number one in pulmonology and offered a holistic approach to care. Her family moved to Houston, just in time for the new school year. Her childhood was filled to the brim with sports, dance, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, swimming, science camp, and trips to the zoo.

Today, she is 15 and studying French. She hopes to travel the world and study forensic psychology in college.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Kylea had access to world-class, holistic pulmonology care for cystic fibrosis.

Brielle
Age 6
Brielle
Age 6

Treated at Tucson Medical Center for Children in Tucson, AZ.

In 2017, Brielle was born with a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, which affected all of her extremities. The surgeons at Tucson Medical Center for Children helped correct some of her limb differences during her first year of life, which has helped her meet some key milestones. During the pandemic, she suffered from Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)-19 and was hospitalized for a week. During that time, she received treatment to help her overcome this rare and unfamiliar illness, which is known to be life-threatening. Today, she’s six years old, and excelling in school. She recently received the Stars of Honor Award.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, patients like Brielle can access customized care that best suits their needs.

Isaac
Age 9
Isaac
Age 9

Treated at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, CA.

Isaac was a healthy baby, but as a toddler, he became lethargic and stopped eating. His low energy and recurring fevers meant multiple trips to the doctor’s office with no answers. When his skin became pale in November 2016, Isaac’s mom advocated for a blood test despite being told it was likely a virus. The staff ran a Complete Blood Count. That afternoon, a nurse practitioner called and told Isaac’s mom to pack a bag and take him to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The family got the official diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Isaac’s treatment began right away. He spent his second birthday at the hospital and his cancer treatment continued for years at the pediatric infusion center at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy programs like music therapy and interactions with the facility dog made the treatment much more tolerable. Today, Isaac remains cancer-free and loves to play football, watch sports and go to the ocean.

Thanks to support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Isaac was able to receive customized cancer treatments so he could live a healthy life in remission.

Ripley
Age 7
Ripley
Age 7

Treated at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in Oakland, CA.

Ripley was born with a congenital heart defect and spent the first week of his life in UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals’ Intensive Care Nursery. A month later, he returned for open heart surgery to repair the defect, known as Tetralogy of Fallot, which reduces the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood to the body. He is part of a Cardiac MRI study at UCSF that is exploring the risks of brain injury in babies with congenital heart disease.

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Ripley received access to critical care to correct his heart defect.

Nathaniel
Age 10
Nathaniel
Age 10

Treated at UF Health Jacksonville, Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, FL.

While Nathaniel was in utero, several doctors diagnosed him with severe hydrocephalus, heart conditions, and informed his parents he had suffered a stroke. Born at 39 weeks gestation, Nathaniel was the biggest baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. He underwent multiple surgeries over several years and he still faces daily struggles including severe eating, colon, sight, and speech issues. Nathaniel also has cerebral palsy, mitochondria syndrome, and tick disorder. Even with his challenges, Nathaniel remains positive. Today, Nathaniel is ten years old and loves LEGOs and traveling to see family in Germany.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has helped provide many resources like a special shunt for Nathaniel that makes his daily life easier to manage.

Ryan
Age 14
Ryan
Age 14

Treated at University of Michigan Health at Sparrow Children's Center in Lansing, MI.

At 17 weeks pregnant, Ryan’s mom, Becky, was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma. Soon after, Becky was placed on bedrest for 6 weeks until Ryan was born via an emergency C-section at 23 weeks.

Ryan weighed one pound seven ounces at birth. In the University of Michigan Health at Sparrow Children’s Center’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU), he was supported by a team of neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, and many others. Ryan’s time in the NICU was marked by underdeveloped lungs and bronchopulmonary dysplasia, multiple infections, intraventricular hemorrhages, necrotizing enterocolitis, and advanced retinopathy of prematurity.

After discharge, Ryan required regular follow-up appointments with many subspecialists, therapists, medical equipment providers, and others. He was readmitted that first year into the pediatric intensive care unit for breathing difficulties, and additional surgery.

Today, Ryan is a 14-year-old who exemplifies perseverance. He loves to build things, ride his bike and hoverboard, and play in the band!

Thanks to donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Ryan had access to a team of lifesaving specialists in the neonatal intensive care unit after being 17 weeks prematurely.

Natalie
Age 15
Natalie
Age 15

Treated at UNM Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque, NM.

Natalie’s cancer journey began at the age of ten when her mom noticed her daughter’s visual impairment. She was diagnosed with an Optic Pathway Glioma, a type of cancer that is difficult to treat and can also affect the pituitary gland. After two chemotherapy sessions, the tumor had completely disappeared, and her family rejoiced. She continued chemotherapy for another year as neurologists monitored Natalie.

A few months later, an MRI identified an area of concern and a biopsy confirmed Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a different, more aggressive brain tumor. She immediately and courageously began treatment again, including 30 rounds of proton therapy radiation and 42 rounds of oral chemotherapy.

Although her treatment worked, she was left with hemiparesis, the weakness of her right side weakness, which required two years in physical and occupational therapy. Recently, an MRI detected a new area of concern, this time, in Natalie’s brain stem. To get a biopsy, Natalie needed major surgery to access the tumor through her cerebellum. Doctors found a Germinoma tumor and her family was relieved to learn that the condition is very treatable. Now, Natalie is bravely facing months of chemotherapy again at UNM Children’s Hospital.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals benefited Natalie’s highly tailored care throughout her journey.

Belle
Age 12
Belle
Age 12

Treated at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.

Isabelle (Belle) was adopted from China when she was 19 months old. Her parents knew she had a potentially devastating blood disorder called thalassemia, but they were comforted that a top ten children’s hospital would be waiting for them when they got home. Doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh began treatment right away. Since she had beta thalassemia major, the most severe form of thalassemia, Belle had a mediport placed and began a routine of ongoing blood transfusions. To mitigate the risk of an iron overload, which could affect her liver and heart, she takes two medications every morning and every evening. Today, Belle is a happy 12-year-old who loves her hospital days because she gets to bring her two favorite stuffed animals, play Uno, and do arts and crafts with her favorite Child Life specialists. She loves having sushi for lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Belle is a cheerleader and a runner. She has joined band and choir at school.

On the days Belle returns to the hospital, the services provided through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals help her spend time creatively.

Davey Jean
Age 10
Davey Jean
Age 10

Treated at Valley Children's Hospital in Madera, CA.

Davey Jean was born with a rare genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q) and was faced with many 22q-related anomalies including congenital heart defects, cleft palate, developmental and speech delays, etc. At 30 weeks in utero, she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a compilation of four heart defects, and required open-heart surgery soon after her birth. By the time she was three years old, she was still non-verbal and used American Sign Language to communicate. Her parents learned that she had conductive hearing loss and would need ear surgery to help drain the fluid causing it. Davey Jean also went through two complex surgeries for her Atypical Submucosal Cleft Palate, which made it nearly impossible for her to form sounds and words. The ear, nose, and throat (ENT) department at Valley Children’s, along with the plastic surgery, audiology and speech therapy teams, all joined in an effort to help with Davey Jean’s hearing issues and speech delays. Today, she is able to communicate using words. Now ten years old, Davey Jean has already undergone five surgeries at Valley Children’s. She continues to see multiple specialists at Valley Children’s, as well as physical and occupational therapy. She is very active and enjoys playing with her friends and doing gymnastics. She loves going to the park and playing with her toys and her dog, Tater Tot.

Thanks to support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Davey Jean has been able to get the surgeries and critical care she needed.

Addison
Age 11
Addison
Age 11

Treated at West Virginia University Children’s in Morgantown, WV.

Addison was eight years old when she had a rapid onset of seizures, which were misdiagnosed as panic attacks. Doctors encouraged her family to take their already scheduled vacation, but after arriving in South Carolina, her episodes increased in intensity and frequency. When her mom took her to the nearest emergency department, she was told it would be a thirteen-hour wait. Addison’s eyes were dilated and her hands and legs were shaking; her mother wondered if her daughter was having seizures and pleaded for a doctor to admit her daughter. After countless tests and doctors’ visits, neurologists diagnosed her with cortical dysplasia to the frontal lobe, which is a congenital abnormality of brain development that can cause irretractable epilepsy. Addison underwent a craniotomy with right frontal lobe resection and a few weeks later, she needed a spinal tap to drain the excess fluid from her brain due to a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Today, although on medication and still having seizures, Addison exudes strength and wisdom far beyond her years. When she grows up, Addison wants to become a Child Life specialist.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals provides life-saving care and essential programs that support Addison and her family during her treatments.