Meet Our 2019 Patient Ambassadors

Tuesday, Feb 5 2019

2017 Ambassador Seal

Every year, the community nominates patients to serve as Children’s Hospital Colorado Patient Ambassadors. The 17 kids selected for this honor in 2019 have displayed extraordinary strength and perseverance in the face of tremendous medical challenges.

These patients range from toddlers to teenagers. They have prevailed through more surgeries, setbacks and hospitalizations than most people experience in a lifetime. Yet after everything they have endured, they want to give back to Children’s Colorado.

Our Ambassadors represent the hundreds of thousands of children we treat every year. Their stories of resilience remind us why it’s so important to support Children’s Hospital Colorado.

We encourage you to read more about our 2019 Ambassadors below, and consider donating to their personal fundraising pages, because every child deserves hope for a full and healthy life.  

Armando, age 12

In July 2017, Armando was involved in a firecracker accident. Tragically, his hands were caught in the blast. He came to the Burn Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado where doctors had more bad news – Armando’s left hand was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. Now, a year and a half later, Armando has undergone six surgeries to repair the damage. He’s always maintained a positive attitude, and he looks forward to getting an electric prosthetic hand. Donate to Armando’s fundraising page.

Cecilia, age 4

Cecilia had just learned to walk when she was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 1. Her parents brought her to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she immediately began chemotherapy. Usually a happy, energetic toddler, Cecilia stopped walking and – perhaps worst of all – she stopped smiling. Nearly three years later, Cecilia’s cancer is now in remission, and she just celebrated her 4th birthday. Not only is she back to smiling, but she’s now running, jumping and playing non-stop. Donate to Cecilia’s fundraising page.

Chloe, age 17

Chloe has struggled with crippling anxiety and depression for much of her life. After her brother died by suicide, Chloe entered an inpatient treatment program at the Pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Through therapy and medication, Chloe began to gain control over her negative thoughts. Today, she works hard every day to not allow her anxiety to define her. Chloe recently graduated from high school and plans to attend Colorado College in the fall to study psychology. Donate to Chloe’s fundraising page.

Emilia, age 7

When Emilia was just 5 weeks old, she was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare liver disease in which the bile ducts become blocked or scared, causing significant damage to the organ. Emilia’s family brought her to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she underwent surgery to remove her bile ducts. Many children with biliary atresia will eventually need a liver transplant, but so far Emilia has had very few complications. Today, she loves to dance, sing, swim and perform. Donate to Emilia’s fundraising page.

Evelyn, age 2

During a routine ultrasound, Evelyn’s parents learned that their unborn baby had a rare birth defect known as a giant omphalocele. The condition affects the abdominal walls, leaving an opening that can cause the organs and intestines to grow outside a baby’s body in-utero. Evelyn was born at Children’s Hospital Colorado and spent the next 10 months there, undergoing many surgeries and procedures. Evelyn has since made rapid progress, but she will require future spinal surgeries to correct her scoliosis. Evelyn’s parents are proud of their daughter’s resilience throughout her many medical challenges. Donate to Evelyn’s fundraising page.

Gavin, age 15

Gavin was born with Down Syndrome, three heart defects and four blood disorders. He was later diagnosed with asthma, sleep apnea and chronic ulcers. Then, at age 12 came Gavin’s most daunting diagnosis yet: acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Gavin underwent nearly two and a half difficult years of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and his cancer is now in remission. Despite everything he’s been through, Gavin remains a kind-hearted and gregarious teenager who loves hip-hop dancing. Donate to Gavin’s fundraising page.

Hunter, age 5

Hunter was diagnosed with a severe form of scoliosis as a baby. The condition caused his back to grow with a curve so extreme that he faced the possibility of paralysis before his 4th birthday. Desperate for a solution, his parents consulted specialists at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where doctors gave the family hope. Using cutting-edge technology, they created a 3D model of Hunter’s tiny spine in preparation for a complex spinal fusion surgery. The 10-hour procedure was a success, and Hunter can now walk, jump and play. Donate to Hunter’s fundraising page.

Jalen, age 8

When Jalen wasn’t feeling well, his parents thought he was just fighting a virus. Then Jalen’s lymph nodes became swollen and his legs started hurting so much he could barely walk. A blood test soon revealed a devastating diagnosis: Jalen had leukemia. He came to Children’s Hospital Colorado to immediately begin treatment. Jalen will continue chemotherapy until April 2021, but in the meantime, he wants to help other kids fighting cancer. Jalen is a master Lego® builder who dreams of someday becoming President of the United States. Donate to Jalen’s fundraising page.

Kaden F., age 16

At age 6, Kaden started experiencing strange “black outs.” His pediatrician recommended further testing, and an EEG test revealed that Kaden was experiencing mini-seizures – up to 30 in an hour. Kaden was diagnosed with epilepsy and began taking seizure medication. Fortunately, the medication has been highly effective in helping Kaden to manage his epilepsy. Today, 10 years after his first seizure, Kaden is thriving. He’s an avid golfer and snowboarder, and in the coming year, he looks forward to becoming an Eagle Scout and getting his driver’s license. Donate to Kaden’s fundraising page.

Kaden L., age 5

Before he was born, Kaden was diagnosed with a genetic disorder known as 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. He was referred to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Kaden’s parents learned their son had a severe heart defect and such late-stage cardiac failure that doctors feared the baby would not survive. At 6 days old, Kaden had his first open-heart surgery, followed by a second groundbreaking heart surgery at 6 months old. Against all odds, Kaden survived, and he will start kindergarten this year. He wants to work at Disneyland when he grows up. Donate to Kaden’s fundraising page.

Maggie, age 11

In first grade, Maggie started having chronic migraines. Her family took her to multiple doctors, but nothing seemed to help. By second grade, her headaches became constant, sometimes even causing fainting and severe vomiting. Then Maggie started seeing a pediatric migraine specialist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She started Maggie on a new medication and treatment plan. Maggie still has relentless headaches, but the pain has become far more manageable. Maggie now enjoys reading, skiing and ballet dancing. Donate to Maggie’s fundraising page.

Mya, age 12

At age 8, Mya began to have trouble eating and experiencing fatigue and aches in her joints. After nearly two years of searching for answers and multiple visits to the closest emergency room, Mya was referred to Children’s Hospital Colorado. There, after just two days of tests, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Since then, Mya has faced the challenges of her condition with bravery and faith. She finds comfort in her animals, art, making music and riding horses at her family’s rural Wyoming ranch. Donate to Mya’s fundraising page.

Myers, age 10

At age 2, Myers was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain tumor. He spent the next year at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where he underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. By his 4th birthday, Myers’ tumor was gone and his cancer in remission. Myers continues to work hard to overcome the residual side effects of his tumor, including some speech and balance difficulties. He is proud to be able to play baseball, basketball and ski. Donate to Myers’ fundraising page.

Olivia, age 4

At 8 weeks old, Olivia was diagnosed with biliary agenesis, a life-threatening condition affecting the liver. When doctors performed surgery to try to repair the organ, they discovered she had no bile ducts. A liver transplant was Olivia’s only option, or she would not live to see her 1st birthday. Olivia was placed on the transplant list at 7 months old, and just nine days later, she received a new liver. Since then, Olivia has flourished. Today, she is learning ballet and how to ride a bike. Donate to Olivia’s fundraising page.

Owen, age 7

When Owen was born in Vail, Colo., doctors detected a cardiac murmur. At just 2 days old, he was diagnosed with four congenital heart defects. Owen was flown to Children’s Hospital Colorado where he could access the expert specialty care needed to save his life. He had his first open-heart surgery at 6 days old and his second open-heart surgery at 9 months old. Today, he’s a healthy 7-year-old boy, who loves to play sports. Owen’s family rides in the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour every year to support other heart patients. Donate to Owen’s fundraising page.

Peter, age 6

Peter has a craniofacial condition that affects the shape of the head and face. He was born with extensive hearing loss and a cleft palate. This made it extremely difficult for him to eat and speak normally, but after multiple surgeries and therapies and Children’s Hospital Colorado, Peter is now thriving. He will require more surgeries in the future, yet he faces every challenge with courage and confidence. Known for his kind heart, Peter loves soccer, taekwondo and dinosaurs. Donate to Peter’s fundraising page.

Sara, age 16

In late 2016, Sara started experiencing mysterious medical symptoms, including blood blisters, painful earaches and flu-like symptoms that persisted for weeks. Sara came to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in the nose, throat, lungs and kidneys. She spent 35 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, fighting for her life. When she was finally discharged, Sara faced a long road to recovery, but she says her challenges have given her a renewed sense of gratitude for life. Donate to Sara’s fundraising page.

Stay in touch with Children’s Colorado. Sign up for eNews.