Our goal is to celebrate the lives of our Miracle Kids every day. These kids have been treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and face battles every day that we cannot begin to imagine. These children are our heroes and at Main Event it is our goal to make them feel like super heroes and forget the pain that they face and fight every day. While, Main Event is all about them and sharing their stories, we strive to involve our families by giving them opportunities to be honored at various events throughout the year.
If you or anyone you know has been treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and are interested in becoming involved in Auburn University Dance Marathon as a Miracle Child, please contact our Director of Family Relations Sara Katherine Parks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Aimree was born with trisomy 7 and an upper limb difference. She had her first surgery at 11 weeks. She has spent her fair share of time in the hospital. At two she stopped moving, and lost all the skills she gained in the last year of physical therapy. She could not sit up, stand, or walk. After three months we finally got a diagnosis, she had systematic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It is very hard to watch your child struggle. But it is just amazing to watch a little girl. Who is in pain can find the joy in everyday. Over the course of the next year, we worked on finding the right combination of drugs to get her moving. They did steroid injections in all of her joints multiple times. The rheumatologist was limited by Aimree’s young age and what drugs were available to her. At the age of three, she started getting infusions every month along with a combination of oral drugs. Last summer Aimree’s infusions went to every other week and Aimree was finally able to have more good days than bad. Last year, Aimree took her first steps and said her first words. Aimree works really hard at getting stronger. Some days are harder than others, but she is a fighter. She finds the joy everyday and just seeing her do that is amazing!” – Shana Vasquez, Aimree’s Mom
I was admitted to the hospital in November 2014 after having a procedure that found I had ulcerative colitis that affected 110% of my colon, and I couldn’t eat from Saturday until the following Saturday! A WHOLE WEEK! I like to call my disease “awesomeness colitis”.
“Hannah has had stomach issues since she was a toddler and has seen several specialists in Atlanta over the years but the results always came back inconclusive. After a really bad episode that started in October 2014 like a virus, Hannah had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in November 2014. Her entire colon (100%) was inflamed. She was in the hospital for almost a week and has had to go back a few times for milder flare-ups. She has to take a lot of maintenance drugs that often make her sick, and has to have routine blood work. It can be an extremely hard disease to manage, especially for a child and the fact that there is no known cause or cure at this time.” –Angela, Hannah’s Mom
If Hannah were a superhero, she would be called Hurricane and be able to fly. She loves roller coasters, especially Mount Everest and Tower of Terror. Riddles, jokes, and puns make Hannah laugh. Her favorite singer/songwriter, Taylor Swift, is also her role model. Hannah would choose to spend the day with Taylor if she could spend the day with anyone!
My brother and I were born five weeks early. Because we were born premature, our lungs weren’t developed all the way and we had to learn to eat. My brother’s lung collapsed and he had to go to the High Risk Side of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit while I stayed on the Special Care Side. We were away from each other for ten days. Finally, my brother got to join me in an open crib in the Special Care Unit. We spent 13 days in the NICU.
My twin brother and I were born five weeks premature. My lung collapsed. I was taken to the High Risk side of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit while my brother stayed on the Special Care Side. I stayed in High Risk for ten days until I got to go back to Special Care and join my brother in an open crib. My brother and I stayed in the NICU for 13 days.
Jake and Charlie are two cool kids. Everyone wanted their autograph on the red carpet at AUDM 2015! Charlie loves The Incredible Hulk, but Jake is more of an Avengers kind of guy. This dynamic duo is going to be unstoppable when they grow up to save the world as a firefighter (Jake) and police officer (Charlie) when they grow up.
“Chloe was born on May 12th, 2010, 3 and a half months early. She came at 26 weeks, was underweight, and was only 11 inches long. We spent 80 days in the NICU at Columbus Regional. Chloe was very sick and had to receive six blood transfusions over her 80 day NICU stay. She had to also learn to suck a bottle and passi. We are so thankful for CMN and all they do for our NICU!” -Pam Wall, Chloe’s Mom
George was born at 25 weeks and stayed in the NICU for 4 months. Now he is a healthy, happy, rambunctious four year old boy!
George is in the 3 year old class at his preschool. His favorite sport is soccer, and his favorite movie is Planes. George loves to play with his dog, Hogan.
“In October of 2010 I ran into the back door at home. I hit my right side of my face hard, so hard it left an imprint of where I hit on the door for at least 2-3 weeks. Days after I hit this door I started having pains in my jaw on the right side. The pain lasted for days and then turned into months. They said I had TMJ. They treated for that and still nothing. Then around January 2011 I felt a bump behind me right ear. We went to get that checked out at my local Dr.’s Office. The Physicians Assistant there felt what I felt. She ordered a Cat Scan that would then save my life perhaps. The results came back there was a tumor there. In February 2011 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma. (I’ll keep it short here) Over the next 3 years I was treated with a number or chemotherapies (8 I think), I did as much radiation as I was allowed, I had a couple of 90 day stays in the hospital, and had many surgeries done. And after relapsing a couple times I hate to say that as of July 2014 the cancer is active. It’s funny tho, cancer doesn’t realize every time it comes back I come back stronger ;D” -Martin Thiele
Martin led a brave fight against cancer for 5 years, and on April 30th, 2015 he finally won. We hope you will join us in celebrating his life through honoring his courage and strength.
I was a 14-year-old girl living a normal life when I started to show signs of an illness. I started to pass out at school. I had reoccurring chest and stomach pain, and numbness in my arms and legs. These things are what caused the biggest change in my life. I was seen by specialist after specialist from Dothan, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia and was diagnosed with numerous things such as dysautonomia, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), EOS (Eosinophilic Esophagitis), reflux, prolonged QT wave, gastroparesis, iron deficiency anemia, mitochondrial disease and the newest of these, Porphyria (AIP). The gigantic “Monster” of this all was unidentified for a while. Porphyria A.K.A. the “Monster” has been controlling my life for the last three years. I have had too many hospital visits to count, had several procedures, surgeries, treatments, blood transfusions, and because of this I ended up doing homeschool. It’s like I’m fighting my own body every day and I don’t know what to ever expect, but what I do know is that I am getting stronger each day and Porphyria has nothing on me.
When Emily grows up, she wants to be a pediatrics nurse or a child life specialist. Her favorite thing to do is take pictures, but if she could learn anything new, she would learn how to play the guitar. If she were a superhero, her name would be Miss Warrior, and her superpower would be to cure disease so no child would ever have to be sick. If Emily could spend the day with anyone, it would be Sammie Coates. War Eagle to that!
Born at 26 weeks and weighed 2lbs..I spent 79 days in the nicu and never had to have any surgeries or complications from being a preemie..thanks to CMN for the giraffe beds I stayed in during my stay that kept me from getting sick.
Karsyn loves Disney! Her favorite movie is Frozen, and her favorite tv show is Sofia the First. Sofia is her favorite Disney character. If she could make any wish, she would go back to Disney World and meet the Disney princesses. One word to describe Karsyn is energetic.
Katherine McPhee sings to Sydnie
Sydnie Pike is a complicated kid. She’s 12 but gets mistaken for a toddler (which she finds very annoying). She loves to cook, but can’t eat so many of the things she likes. She’s a take-charge kind of girl, but is faced with challenges no amount of moxie can overcome.
Sydnie has Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome, a rare disease that’s often hard to diagnose because it involves so many organ systems. S-D children typically have low white blood cell counts and difficulty absorbing nutrients, including vitamins from food. They have lung problems similar to children with cystic fibrosis, as well as problems with bone growth, and they’re susceptible to life-threatening infections.
“And Sydnie, not to be outdone, actually has a few other things thrown in that make her a little more complex,” said Dr. Paul LoDuca, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at The Medical Center who specializes in diagnosing and treating children in our region with blood disorders and cancers. Sydnie has something else that makes her stand out from the crowd. “She is a classic trouper kid,” Dr. LoDuca said. “She’s overwhelmingly tough and doesn’t moan or complain about the cards she’s been dealt.”
Ella Goudie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on October 10, 2011 at The Medical Center. Prior to Ella’s diagnosis, she was a very funny, beautiful, and strong-willed five-year old. After one year of cancer treatments that included over 25 days in the hospital, 15-plus spinal injections of chemotherapy, IV-injected chemotherapy, steroids, and daily oral chemotherapy, she was still the same very funny, beautiful, and strong willed girl! Through the hair loss, weight fluctuation, and over six months of solitary confinement, Ella kept her smile and toughness. She is definitely no pushover! Ella and her family put their trust in a one-word reply to the question hey asked Dr. Paul LoDuca, a board certified pediatric hematologist-oncologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with blood disorders and cancers. The Goudies asked, “Are we in the right place to battle this horrible disease?” Dr. LoDuca said “Yes,” and he is right. Ella’s team includes Dr. LoDuca, her nurses Christy Womack and Hannah Potter, and Meg Johnson, a Certified Child Life Specialist who uses various ways to ease Ella’s worries when she is in the hospital. Meg’s valued position is supported by Children’s Miracle Network. The Goudie’s say Ella’s entire team is sent from above and insist they could not have made it through these past years without them. Thankfully, Ella was able to return to school and was able to take her medicines at home and as an outpatient. Ella received chemotherapy through her port monthly and spinal taps every three months over 18 months at Midtown Medical. Ella’s last treatment was December 10th, 2013. She has finished all her treatments and has beat cancer! We are so happy, thankful, and extremely proud of her!
Princess Ella is in second grade and loves to dance and swim. Her favorite color is pink and the best gift she’s ever been given is her little brother, Luke! She loves mint chocolate chip ice cream and her favorite singer is Darius Rucker.
Meet Parker: A CMN Miracle Child
“Parker was born with hydrocephalus. Parker’s parents received the diagnosis at 20 weeks in the pregnancy that there was a blockage between the third and fourth ventricles of Parker’s brain that was preventing the spinal fluid from draining. As a result, the fluid would build up and compress Parker’s brain matter against his skull, threatening to severely hinder Parker’s neurological development. Parker was born with 8 millimeters of brain matter, which is essentially no brain. At two days old, a shunt was placed in Parker’s brain, allowing the fluid to drain and releasing the pressure from his brain. Over the next 9 months, Parker underwent a series of shunt and craniofacial surgeries to ensure the proper draining of excess fluid and to reshape his skull, in order to make room for his brain to hopefully grow to appropriate size and develop properly. Parker began therapy at 4 weeks old and God blessed Parker and his family with a miraculous recovery. He currently has some fine and motor difficulties but continues to amaze everyone. He loves to sing, dance, and be on stage. We are thankful to God for the miracle that is Parker.”
– Crysie Grelecki, Parker’s Mom
Parker has two younger siblings, Chase and Emily. He LOVES everything Auburn, especially Aubie! His favorite movie is Lady and the Tramp. He plays guitar and can speak Spanish. If Parker could spend the day with anyone, he would spend it with Bruno Mars. One word that adequately describes him is “rockstar” and his superhero name would be “Super Par Par the Rockstar,” a name he coined himself.
Aidyn is strong and loves life. Although he has PTSD due to all the lengthy hospital stays, over 80 surgeries, chemo and Proton Radiation, he loves life. He has battled cancer 4 times & won but at a cost. Unfortunately, they had to remove the last 4 vertebrae’s in his back which left him like a spinal bifada patient. He gets around by scooting and has lost all muscle on his bottom. Aidyn also fights constant infections and is now deaf. Aidyn loves the outdoors but is very limited at what he can do.
“Aidyn was diagnosed at 14 months old with a germ cell cancer, Sacrelcoccygeal Teratoma. After the initial surgery of taking the tailbone out and chemo, Aidyn’s cancer returned four times going from his back to his right hip. In November 2010, they took out the last 4 vertebras of his back and he was paralyzed for 3 months. It has been a long road. He has had over 30 chemo treatments, over 80 surgeries; he’s had around 30 central lines, 3 ports, 2 PIC lines. He spent more time in the hospital than at home during the first 4 years. Today he is fighting an infection in his chest cavity that has been there for 3 and a half years. Because of this infection and its treatment, he is now completely deaf. He also has PTSD and is high functional autistic. We don’t currently have a prognosis but we live everyday to the fullest and glad that you are part of it. He has also learned how to walk 11 times now. He is my hero!” – Dora Reid, Aidyn’s Mom
Emmarie and Eyan’s Story
“We were born at 24 weeks and 3 days. We spent 4 months in the NICU at the medical center because we were very sick and faced numerous life threatening complications. Had it not been for the Children’s Miracle Network we would not have beaten significant odds and be here today.”
Hannah, Molly, and Chloe’s Story
Each of the Wheelis Sisters has type 1 diabetes. Every day is a fight for them, and we stand with them!
When Grant was born, he was screaming, crying, and generally just mad to be there. The crying was, in our opinion, an amazing sign. We had heard so many stories about babies being born early and not crying due to their lungs not being fully developed, that we naturally assumed that this was a great sign. At this point, this delivery was exactly like our other two children, who both were very healthy babies and both born full term. The doctors let us take a quick look, I was able to hold him for a very brief moment, and then they quickly whisked him away to the NICU to examine him. Within a few hours, he was on a CPAP, and within 12 hours he was moved to a ventilator. The doctors assured us that this was okay and that his lungs just needed some time to develop. At this point in time, we were still unable to see him. 24 hours later, the doctor came in our room and sat down. Hilary and my heart stopped, it’s never good news when the doctor sits down when giving you news. He informed us that Grant’s lung collapsed, and they had to perform emergency surgery on him. They were able to repair it, and he was going to be OK from that, but it was quite dicey at the time and also meant he was going to be in the NICU for a lot longer than we had originally anticipated. He ended up being on the ventilator for 21 days. If that wasn’t enough for the poor baby, he also contracted two separate infections, leading to 21 days of antibiotics that were eventually given to him through his belly button. After 43 days in the NICU, Grant was finally able to come home. Everyone at the NICU, from the nurses, to the doctors, all the way to the janitors, was amazing. Everything they did for our family can’t be explained in words. From putting up with our frustrations, to dealing with questions from siblings and grandparents, to convincing us to bring Grant’s older brother and sister to see him even when he was covered from head to toe in wires was a blessing to us. Since coming home, the continued treatment that Grant has received from the multitude of specialist from Children’s Hospital of Alabama has also been amazing. Grant has needed some help developing certain things that would come normal to a full-term baby. He has needed help with occupational, speech and physical therapy due to him being a preemie and being on the ventilator for so long. With all their help Grant is getting stronger and developing faster each day.