Our 2018 Champions

Every year, our member hospitals identify a remarkable child to serve as their Champion. Together these kids represent the more than 2.3 million children treated in our Canadian member hospitals each year. Their stories demonstrate the incredible advances that have been made in child health care in our country, and the personal journey children and their families take to overcome illness or injury.

Children’s Miracle Network Champions presented by Walmart Canada is an awareness program designed to educate communities about the life-saving work happening at our member hospitals, and the role Children’s Miracle Network plays in supporting that work.

This year, we will travel to Ottawa and Orlando during #ChildrensHospitalsWeek to celebrate this inspiring group of ambassadors as well as pediatric hospitals and the vital role they play in improving the health of children across North America.

Show your support by sharing these stories and donating today.

CMN Champions
Alberta

Jack and Lily

Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Crigler Najjar Syndrome

Crigler Najjar syndrome is a rare genetic condition that affects the liver and its production of a special enzyme. This causes buildup of bilirubin, which can lead to loss of motor function, brain damage, and ultimately death. Siblings Jack and Lily share this condition, causing them to fight long, hard battles for their health.

Both Jack and Lily required special phototherapy light beds to sleep in, liver transplants to survive, and will have to be on medication for the rest of their lives. Luckily, Jack and Lily’s maternal uncle was able to donate a portion of his liver to save Jack’s life, and a few years later, the same uncle’s wife donated a part of her liver to Lily.

There have been many complications with Jack and Lily’s conditions, but they have helped each other to persevere. Despite all they’ve been through, they don’t let anything slow them down for long, and are always ready to help those around them.

Funds In Action:

Donations raised in the community through Children’s Miracle Network fund innovations in pediatric transplant research that allows for a larger donor pool, more matches and more successful transplants for kids like Jack and Lily.

Alberta

Milan

Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Alveolar Soft-Part Sarcoma

When Milan notice swelling in her right leg and hip, she thought it was her body compensating for her recently-broken left ankle. When the swelling wouldn’t go away, an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed a grapefruit-sized mass; a tumour. If this wasn't shocking enough, Milan’s family soon learned that the cancer had spread to her lungs and brain.

Milan endured six weeks of radiation, multiple two-part surgeries and steroid treatments to help cure her condition. She had to deal with many severe side effects including swelling in her brain, debilitating migraines, and burns from radiation.

Though it has been difficult, Milan has taken her illness, treatments and side effects in stride. She finds strength and resilience through acceptance of her situation, making it easier for her to live in the moment and conquer any challenge that comes her way. Milan's inspiring determination makes her the perfect role model for those around her.

Funds In Action:

Community donations through Children’s Miracle Network fund specialized cancer care, enabling a team of scientists to search for gentler, more effective treatments for children with cancer like Milan.

British Columbia

Colton

BC Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Brain Injury

A few days before Christmas, when his puffer wasn’t bringing him the usual relief from his asthma, Colton’s father took him to the hospital. While standing in the ER lobby, Colton collapsed. His heart stopped for 15 minutes, until the emergency team could revive him.

It soon became apparent that the lack of oxygen to Colton’s brain had a devastating effect: he needed a feeding tube, couldn’t speak, and was nearly blind. He even needed to relearn how to walk and sit on his own. Doctors thought it could take up to a year of rehabilitation therapy for him to recover, but Colton was discharged after a month, impressing everyone who worked with him.

During his recovery, Colton and his family became very close to the entire care team. They became like a second family, and it grew to be difficult to say goodbye. Even the ER doctor who saved Colton’s life came to his room when it was time to wake him up from sedation.

Funds In Action:

Donations made through Children’s Miracle Network support the availability of state-of-the-art equipment that makes the resuscitation, recovery and rehabilitation of critically ill kids like Colton possible.

Manitoba

Abigail

Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba Champion

Multisystem Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis

When Abigail was four years old, she developed a bump on her head that wouldn’t go away. As time went on, one of her eyes began to droop, and doctors suspected it was no ordinary bump.

Tests revealed that the bump was actually a three-inch tumour, and Abigail was diagnosed with multisystem Langerhans cell histiocytosis; a rare condition where her white blood cells were eating away at her bones.

Abigail spent the next year undergoing chemotherapy and steroid treatments. She endured seven weeks of isolation to protect her from infections, along with many surgeries and side effects, including reconstructive dental surgery from tooth loss.

Not much is known about Abigail’s disease, so doctors are unsure of the outlook. For now, her condition is stable and relapse unlikely, so she is living her life to the fullest. Abigail fundraises for her local hospital and speaks at public events, including addressing her local legislative assembly.

Funds In Action:

Community donations through Children’s Miracle Network help purchase equipment, including specialized surgical tools, used in delicate procedures for kids like Abigail.

New Brunswick

Logan

IWK Foundation Champion

Pfeiffer Syndrome

When Logan’s mom was pregnant, she found out there was a 50/50 chance the baby would inherit her condition; Pfeiffer Syndrome. It’s a genetic condition where the soft spots of the skull fuse together before birth, affecting the growth of both his skull and mid-face.. As a result of this condition Logan suffers from hearing loss, chronic and severe sinus congestion, asthma, sleep apnea, and had complications with fluid on his brain.

Logan has endured 32 surgeries, many to help expand his skull so that his brain has room to grow, and will need more in the coming years to help his facial bones grow properly. While there is no cure for this condition, regular checkups and treatments from Logan's children’s hospital will help him live a healthy, happy life.

Courage and a great sense of humour help Logan get through all of his treatments and surgeries without complaint. Even when he spent 3 months in hospital recovering from one surgery, he would greet each and every visitor with a big smile.

Funds In Action:

Community funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network help purchase complex pieces of equipment such as the anesthesia machines that provide life support to kids like Logan during surgical procedures.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Hilary

Janeway Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Arteriovenous Malformation, Epilepsy

One day, Hilary was complaining to her older sister about a terrible headache and went up to her room to rest. Before long, her sister found her collapsed, unresponsive, on her bedroom floor.

Hilary was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered she had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that had ruptured, causing severe bleeding in her brain. She required emergency surgery to remove the AVM and relieve the pressure.

Hilary spent days in an induced coma, with her family not knowing if she’d sustained any brain damage. Miraculously, when Hilary awoke she could move all of her limbs and immediately began working on her recovery. Though she had many complications fighting off infections, Hilary was determined to get better. Even when scarring on her brain led to epilepsy, she didn’t let it get her down.

Today, Hilary has been cleared of having any more AVMs, and has gotten back to doing the things she loves, including playing pranks on unsuspecting family members.

Funds In Action:

Children’s Miracle Network donations fund the purchase of specialized equipment such as the Medtronic Image Guidance System that allows for greater precision in delicate, life-saving procedures done on kids like Hilary.

Ontario

Olivia

SickKids Champion

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Olivia may only be six, but she doesn’t let anything hold her back. She runs, swims, climbs, and does gymnastics. You’d never know that she was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition where the left side of her heart does not function properly.

Olivia had her first open heart surgery when she was six days old, and another at one month old. Her third and most recent surgery happened when she was three, and she had to spend a month in the hospital due to complications.

Though she will need to return to her hospital for annual checkups, Olivia’s condition is stable. She has memories of being in the hospital, but knows she conquered her illness. Olivia specifically remembers loving the chicken soup she ate while she was there, and has fond memories of the hospital play areas.

When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, Olivia is determined that she will be a doctor, so she can help others who are sick.

Funds In Action:

Community donations through Children’s Miracle Network allows hospitals to be at the forefront of research and discovery, so kids with complex conditions like Olivia get the best treatment possible.

Ontario

Morgan

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation Champion

Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Epilepsy

When Morgan was 13 months old her parents brought her to the local children’s hospital with what they believed was a severe stomach flu. Bloodwork revealed that her kidneys were shutting down, her red blood cells and platelets were extremely low and she had high blood pressure. It took doctors a month to diagnose her with a rare genetic condition that required weekly plasma infusions.

Morgan has already had 10 surgeries in her young life and requires infusions of medication twice a week. At age 15 she developed epilepsy which is largely controlled with medication.

Despite all the challenges, Morgan is described as exceptional and beautiful - inside and out - by all who know her. Remarkably, she never complains.

Morgan’s family feels like their children’s hospital is an extension of their family. Morgan even learned how to walk and run in the halls of the medical day unit showing that even during treatment, happy memories can be made.

Funds In Action:

Funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network support the purchase of specialized medical equipment like the PRISMAFLEX System essential to the regular therapeutic plasma exchanges received by kids like Morgan.

Ontario

Hunter

Children's Health Foundation Champion

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis

When Hunter's parents took him to the hospital with a fever, they were shocked to learn that doctors determined he needed to go to a dedicated children’s hospital over 800 km away.

By the time they arrived, Hunter was on life support due to a rare, life-threatening blood disorder. His condition was so severe that doctors advised his mother that although they were doing all they could to save him, she should probably say her goodbyes.

After five days, Hunter began to show signs of improvement. He spent three weeks in the critical care unit and received over 80 blood products. He then spent another five weeks in the hospital recovering, where he had to relearn how to walk, talk, and even feed himself.

After a long, hard-fought battle, Hunter was in remission. His disease could be reactivated at any time, but he won’t let that stop him from living. He loves to have dance parties, take his dog for walks, and play games.

Funds In Action:

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network support programs like the Pediatric Transport team, that provided Hunter with life-saving transportation from his local hospital to the nearest dedicated children’s hospital.

Ontario

Ethan

McMaster Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Crohn's Disease

“Just because I have Crohn’s Disease, it doesn’t stop me. I can do anything.”

Though Ethan has a lifelong disease with no cure, you’d never know it. Only seven years old when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestinal tract, Ethan never lets it change his bright and energetic attitude.

Ethan needs IV infusions of medication every eight weeks and he sees his specialist every four months to manage his condition. While he’s getting his treatments, he never complains. Ethan even goes to other children receiving care and makes sure they feel calm and relaxed if they are nervous. He is always thinking of others before himself.

Ethan isn’t only the toughest person in the family - he’s also the comedian. Calling himself “Funzie” from a very young age, he loves bringing smiles to people’s faces. Ethan also loves spending time with his brother and two best friends, playing sports and video games.

Funds In Action:

Funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network help purchase the specialized equipment essential to diagnose, treat and care for patients with complex conditions like Ethan.

Quebec

Gabriel

Opération Enfant Soleil Champion

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Gabriel had some minor health issues, including an eye infection, leg pain, and a red spot on his face, but no one believed it was anything serious. His family was overwhelmed to learn that Gabriel had leukemia, and would require chemotherapy. A month into treatment, he was deemed high risk, and would need a stem cell transplant on top of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Gabriel's body rejected the transplant twice, and he developed blood poisoning, making recovery even more difficult.

It was a hard year for both Gabriel and his family. He endured isolation to protect him from infection, and struggled with not being able to see his sisters or friends.

Despite all the hardships, Gabriel fought courageously, never once complaining or asking his parents to go home. He still deals with the complications of his condition, but says he feels lucky to have gotten through it and has a new view on life.

Funds In Action:

Donations raised through Children’s Miracle Network fund the purchase of medical equipment such as ultrasound and MRI machines to help closely monitor the complex conditions of kids like Gabriel.

Saskatchewan

Payton

Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation Champion

Lymphoblastic Leukemia And Lymphoma

After a year-long battle with Stage 4 Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma, nine-year-old Payton believed she was cancer-free. Only two short months of celebrating later, Payton learned the cancer had returned and she was once again in for the fight of her life.

She was only six years old when it all started. Payton’s tummy pain became so severe that she could hardly walk. What followed were numerous x-rays, tests, ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans, biopsies and bone marrow aspirations, plus many painful episodes of blood work before beginning chemotherapy for 11 months.

Having been through it before, Payton knows exactly how to beat cancer once and for all. She still anticipates an up-to-six-month stay in hospital for extensive treatment, but is set on sharing her story in hopes of showing other kids that cancer doesn’t have to be scary. Alongside her little brother, Beckham, Payton launched the “Cancer Sucks” project to fundraise and help kids like her. To date, the project has raised over $35,000 and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Funds In Action:

Community funds raised through Children’s Miracle Network are helping build the province’s first dedicated children’s hospital, which will have specialized oncology services to help kids like Payton.