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Meet Our 2018 Patient Ambassadors

Tuesday, Jan 30 2018

2017 Ambassador Seal

Every year, the community nominates patients to serve as Children’s Hospital Colorado Patient Ambassadors. The 18 children selected for this honor in 2018 have displayed extraordinary strength and perseverance in the face of tremendous medical challenges.

Our 2018 Ambassadors range from 6 months to 16 years old, and they have prevailed through more surgeries, setbacks and hospitalizations than most people experience in a lifetime. Yet after everything they have endured, these patients want to give back to Children’s Colorado.

Throughout the year, Ambassadors and their families will share their stories, represent Children’s Colorado at community events and raise funds for the hospital. When you support Children’s Colorado, you support kids just like our Ambassadors. Read more about their stories below, and donate to their personal fundraising pages.

Adrian, age 14

Adrian was born nearly two months premature, so his kidneys did not form properly. Facing chronic kidney failure, Adrian underwent dialysis treatment at Children’s Colorado four hours a day, four days a week, for 12 straight years. Finally, in 2017, Adrian’s dreams came true when he was matched with a new donor kidney. After a successful transplant last year, Adrian is now able to enjoy the life of a normal 14-year-old. He’s a great student who loves soccer and football. Donate to Adrian’s fundraising page

Alyssa, age 13

Alyssa was born with a rare birth defect that severely impacts her kidneys and bowels. She has undergone multiple reconstructive surgeries and lived with a colostomy bag for years. She still uses a catheter to urinate, but Alyssa has made tremendous progress toward becoming fully continent. Despite her medical challenges, she is committed to living life to its fullest. She dreams of someday becoming a fashion designer or worship pastor. Donate to Alyssa’s fundraising page

Brianna, age 16

In third grade, Brianna was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, a condition that causes the spine to curve.  At first, she saw a chiropractor and used a back brace for support. But as the curve in her spine continued to worsen, Brianna and her family decided that surgery was the only option. In January 2018, Brianna underwent a spinal fusion at Children’s Colorado. During this complex and painful surgery, 16 screws were used to fuse two metal rods to her spine, helping to straighten the curve. Brianna faces a long recovery, but she is looking forward to a much better quality of life. Donate to Brianna’s fundraising page

Chase, age 7

Chase was born two months early, and he spent three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. With a long list of medical complications ranging from seizures to partial blindness, Chase regularly makes the 6-hour trip from his hometown near Durango, Colo., to Children’s Colorado to access the expert pediatric care he requires. Although Chase doesn’t have an official diagnosis, he is treated by a multidisciplinary team of caregivers who help him to thrive. Chase’s family describes him as a child full of joy, purpose and love for life. Donate to Chase’s fundraising page

Cora, age 16

When Cora was 13, her depression and eating disorder escalated to the point of crisis. Cora’s parents brought her to Children’s Colorado, where she entered a five-week treatment program at the Pediatric Mental Health Institute. There, Cora began to make steps toward recovery. Her life is not perfect – she will manage her depression and eating disorder her whole life – but she now has the resources and resilience to cope. Cora hopes to inspire others and educate the public about pediatric mental health. Donate to Cora’s fundraising page

Eli, age 1

Eli was diagnosed in-utero with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a life-threatening birth defect that inhibits lung growth and causes other serious health issues. After seeking out opinions across the country, the family decided that Children’s Colorado was the best place for their baby’s care. On April 27, 2017. Eli was born at the Children’s Colorado Fetal Care Center. At 4 days old, he underwent a corrective surgery and spent seven weeks recovering in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Today, he is a joyful baby who loves to smile and explore the world. Donate to Eli’s fundraising page

Emerson, age 9

Emerson was born in severe respiratory distress. She was transferred to the Children’s Colorado Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where doctors determined Emerson’s diaphragm – a critical muscle for breathing – wasn’t functioning properly.  She also had low overall muscle tone, which affected her heart and lungs. She required a feeding tube for nutrition and a tracheostomy tube to help her breathe. At 7 months old, Emerson was finally able to go home. Since then, with the help of her Children’s Colorado care team, Emerson has not only beaten the odds, but has also thrived. She now attends a gifted and talented school, and she loves to read, bike, ski and climb. Donate to Emerson’s fundraising page

Faith, age 16

Faith had been struggling with severe abdominal pain and bowel issues for weeks without answers. Then in July of 2016, she received a devastating diagnosis. Not only did she have a rare and aggressive form of cancer, but it had already spread throughout her lymph nodes and spine. Faith was given a 10 percent chance of survival. Yet after surgery and 12 grueling weeks of radiation treatment at Children’s Colorado, her tumor shrunk by 86 percent. Faith completed her last round of chemo last November, and her cancer is now in remission. Donate to Faith’s fundraising page

Jaden, age 7

Jaden suffered a stroke at birth that caused damage to his brain. He was later diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, an incurable condition in which fluid builds up deep within the brain. He faces extensive medical challenges, but with the help of his family and Children’s Colorado, he has made significant progress. Because they live in Durango, Colo., Jaden’s family is thankful they are able to access some of his caregivers remotely through innovative telemedicine programs. Jaden loves trains, and enjoys all things Colorado, especially camping, fishing and the Denver Broncos. Donate to Jaden’s fundraising page

Lillian, age 10

Shortly after she turned 3, Lillian started struggling with unexplained fatigue, diarrhea, headaches and vomiting. By her fourth birthday, she had lost nearly a fourth of her body weight. After a year without answers, a blood test finally revealed that Lillian had Celiac Disease, a genetic autoimmune condition that damages the small intestines. Lillian was referred to Children’s Colorado, where she started getting the care she needed. After moving to Colorado and maintaining a strict gluten-free lifestyle, Lillian’s disease has now been in remission for two years. Donate to Lillian’s fundraising page

Maddy, age 11

Maddy has spina bifida and was born paralyzed from the knees down. She is treated at the Children’s Colorado Spina Bifida Clinic and has undergone many surgeries, including one to reconstruct her feet. After many procedures and years of hard work, Maddy is proud that she can now get around using her crutches and wheelchair. There are still challenges, but Maddy doesn’t let her disability slow her down. She enjoys math, art, jewelry-making and doing cool tricks in her wheelchair. Donate to Maddy’s fundraising page

Markus, age 13

After an X-ray revealed a mass in his leg, Markus was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer. To save his life, doctors at Children’s Colorado had to remove Markus’ leg at the knee. Markus opted to undergo a Van Nes Rotationplasty, a groundbreaking procedure that replaces the knee with the ankle joint from the amputated limb, which allows patients to retain more mobility. Markus just finished his last round of chemotherapy, and he will soon be fitted with a new prosthetic leg. He is well known at Children’s Colorado for his infectious positive attitude. Donate to Markus’ fundraising page

Maya, age 10

Maya is truly one-of-a-kind. She has an extremely rare blood disorder, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), that causes her blood cells to attack other healthy blood cells, even striking her spleen, lungs and brain. Maya’s specific form of HLH – and the way it affects her body – is so rare that there is no other case in the world quite like hers. In 2016, she underwent a bone marrow transplant with her sister, Marley, as her donor. Maya copes with her illness by maintaining a positive attitude and always bringing her trusty sidekick, a stuffed monkey named Dave, along to her numerous hospital stays. Donate to Maya’s fundraising page

Nate, age 10

Nate was born with a rare heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four heart defects in one. He also has spina bifida. Nate has undergone two major surgeries for his heart and spine. He is proud of his surgical scars and hopes his story will inspire other kids. A social butterfly, Nate’s family nicknamed him the “Little Mayor,” because he loves talking to everyone. He likes Legos®, soccer and making his sister laugh. Donate to Nate’s fundraising page

Oliver, 9 months

Oliver was diagnosed in-utero with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. After receiving the devastating diagnosis, the family came to Children’s Colorado, where a care team devised a treatment plan to give Oliver the best chance of survival. Oliver was born on July 25, 2017, at the Children’s Colorado Fetal Care Center. Today, he’s only 6 months old, but he has already endured two open heart surgeries, as well as multiple complications and infections. He will require a final palliative heart surgery in a few years, but for now this strong, resilient baby is growing and thriving at home. Donate to Oliver’s fundraising page

Sophia, age 6

Sophia was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor known as craniopharyngioma. Sophia and her family travelled from their home in New Mexico to Children’s Hospital Colorado and lived in the area for five months while Sophia underwent intensive treatment. The cancer dramatically impacted her vision, but after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the tumor is mostly gone. Today, Sophia is a spunky, joyful little girl who recently started kindergarten. She loves to sing and dreams of someday being on “American Idol.” Donate to Sophia’s fundraising page

Thomas, age 8

At age 4, Thomas was diagnosed with leukemia. The military family was stationed in England at the time. After being treated abroad for several months, the family was transferred to Colorado Springs, so Thomas could be treated at Children’s Colorado. In 2016, after more than three years of chemotherapy and other treatments, Thomas’ cancer was finally in remission. When he grows up, this gregarious little boy wants to be an adventurer and explorer. Donate to Thomas’ fundraising page

Trinity, age 13

While standing around a bonfire last year in Granby, Colo., a wind picked up and caught Trinity on fire. She suffered burns on 25 percent of her body. A Flight for Life® helicopter transported Trinity to the Burn Center at Children’s Colorado, and for two months she stayed in the Intensive Care Unit and Rehab Center. Trinity goes to many therapies to heal her scars and improve her strength. She wants people to know that good things can come from bad situations, and she loves arts, crafts, quilting and singing. Donate to Trinity’s fundraising page

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