These are some of the children who have overcome medical challenges at Miami Children's Hospital. These children and their families support local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® by attending our events year round and sharing their stories.
Shannon, Boca Raton
Within hours of her birth, Shannon was diagnosed with esophageal atresia and was quickly airlifted from Boca Raton to Miami Children’s Hospital for treatment. There, a procedure never before performed in South Florida saved Shannon’s life.
Esophageal atresia is a condition in which the esophagus is too short, keeping infants from swallowing food. This disorder can have devastating results ranging from pneumonia to choking and even death. The gap in Shannon’s esophagus reached from the bottom of her neck to her diaphragm and, to give Shannon the best chance at a healthy life, immediate treatment was essential. Upon arrival by helicopter at Miami Children’s Hospital, pediatric surgeon Dr. Cathy Burnweit discussed with Shannon’s parents a new procedure to repair her esophagus. In fact, Dr. Burnweit had just read about the procedure the week before Shannon arrived at Miami Children’s.
Traditional repair of esophageal atresia involves months of slowly connecting the esophagus. The new method would require only days to connect the esophagus and allow Shannon to eat without a feeding tube. In the procedure, four long stitches are attached to each end of the esophagus and drawn outside of the body. Over a few days, the stitches are pulled to extend the esophagus and once long enough, the pieces of the esophagus are sewn together.
After spending the first two months of her life at Miami Children’s Hospital, Shannon was able to go home just in time for the holidays. Today Shannon is a healthy four year old who takes ballet lessons, recently learned how to ice skate and loves to play with her two brothers and sister.
Shea was diagnosed with AML – Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, one of the most aggressive forms of leukemia, when he was six months old. For the first three years of his life, he spent the holidays at Miami Children’s Hospital. The first time he received chemotherapy for six months and was then in remission for six months. Soon after, he relapsed, once again received chemotherapy treatments for seven months and then relapsed for a second time. At this point the decision was made that the only course of treatment was a bone marrow transplant and because his relatives were not matches, he was placed on the national registry database. Three months later he received the bone marrow transplant from a non-related donor. Over the years, Shea continued to have set backs including infections, a leukemia tumor in his nasal cavity and more chemotherapy treatments. Shea and his family had the opportunity of meeting his bone marrow donor. Today Shea is a healthy 9 year old, plays baseball and loves spending time with his parents and older brother.
Christina, Coral Springs
Christina was referred to Miami Children’s Hospital when she was 8 weeks old. She had a congenital heart defect that would require surgery. While performing pre-surgery x-rays and tests, it was revealed that she had other serious problems… coarctation of the aorta (tight narrowing of the aorta) and eventration of the diaphragm (the lung was being compressed by her abdomen, her intestines were pushed into her lungs, which were collapsed).
The cardiovascular surgeon and pediatric surgeon decided to combine their surgeries and operate only once vs. multiple surgeries. A new heart surgery at that time, VATS was performed by the cardiovascular surgeon and the pediatric surgeon repaired her lung, diaphragm and abdomen.
Today Christina is 13 years old and loves to play soccer.
If you would like to share your story, please contact Maria Moldes, Director of Children’s Miracle Network & Corporate Relations, at email@example.com.