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11 Parents Share How Their Children Survived Against All Odds

For 30 years, Walmart and Sam's Club associates have been helping families in their communities live better by raising funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 1987, Walmart and Sam's Club associates, customers, and members in the US and Canada have contributed nearly $1 billion to help kids live better.

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They gave this small trooper a fighting chance.

"Elijah was born at only 27 weeks' gestation and weighed less than two pounds. He was a trooper. He was in the hospital for about three months, and it got dark for a little while for us. But things got better. Today, Elijah is healthy and happy, and he gives us so much pride and joy."

—Justin Ross (father)

They breathed joy into this mom's life again.

"Often the NICU is associated with premature babies, but my son, Brody, was there after being overdue at nearly 42 weeks. During birth, Brody swallowed all his meconium, which caused breathing problems and a lung infection. He was immediately put on a ventilator and spent a week in the NICU at MU Children’s Hospital. The doctors and nurses were amazing. They always made sure my questions were answered and made sure to hold Brody as much as possible. Brody is now a healthy 2-year-old."

—Ashley Gregor (mother)

They made sure this mom's baby could thrive.

"When Jonathan was born, he was struggling to eat. Two weeks later, he was being rushed into surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. My son wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the doctors and nurses at Texas Children’s. Throughout the entire process, they gave me whatever peace and assurance they could that they were going to give my baby back to me. Now, Jonathan is a healthy, happy 21-year-old. I love my son so much, so Texas Children’s has always had a really big place in my heart."

—Regina Lopez (mother)

They kept these twin sisters together, no matter what.

"I gave birth to my twin daughters at 29 weeks, and they were just two pounds each. One child could fit in the palm of my hand — I was terrified to touch them. You can't imagine what it was like to sit there and look at your children, not knowing if that was the last time you would be able to see them and kiss them. But MUSC knew how to take care of our children, and that calmed us every time we went there. My children came home on heart monitors and oxygen tubes one month after they were born. Today, they are 7 years old, healthy, and going into the first grade. You would never be able to tell that they had so many problems as babies. If it wasn't for Children's Miracle Network, I wouldn't have my kids."

—Jessica Deziel (mother)

They helped this mom find her passion to give back.

"You never know, from minute to minute, how your life can change. In 2014, my son was run over by a truck in front of our home and experienced serious trauma that kept him fighting in the pediatric intensive care unit at Harrington Cancer and Health Foundation for two months. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped my son and family with medical bills and travel expenses, and this intensified my support of fundraising efforts. What you do to help today could someday be helping you or a close family member. It’s my passion. If I can help, then I want to do it, whether it takes me staying up late, getting up early, or doing it on my lunch. If it’s to help someone, then I’m going to do it."

—Misty Willis (mother)

They were there when this mom needed them most.

"When my son was 5 years old, he was hit by a car while riding his bike and had to be flown to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. More recently, my grandchild was born premature at 26 weeks. Weighing just one pound and four ounces, she spent the following four months in the NICU at Le Bonheur. I'm so happy to say both my son and my grandchild are well and thriving thanks to the resources provided by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Before I ever had to use Le Bonheur, I said to myself, 'I hope I don’t ever have to use it, but if I do, I am glad it’s there!'"

—Michelle Bellew (mother, grandmother)

They made his daughter's future bright again.

"Nearly 300 days. That’s how long Grace spent at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 2014. Grace was given a heart transplant on her fourth birthday because of an extremely rare form of heart disease called restrictive cardiomyopathy. I saw firsthand how services provided by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped in our near 10-month hospital stay. Specifically, there was a Children’s Miracle Network–funded library with books, movies, games, and coloring that got us through difficult circumstances. I tell people, if you share stories, share mine. Share how much we have benefitted from this organization and those dollars. Even though our future could seem grim, it’s bright at the same time because we know there are people who really care and sacrifice and work hard to make things better for families like mine. Our future is bright because we know that we’re not alone.”

—Tim Cantrell (father)

They were never discouraged by her daughter's disability.

“I didn’t know back then that my own family would someday be touched by this amazing organization on such a personal level. When my daughter was 3 and a half years old, she was referred to the doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital to try to find a diagnosis for her developmental delays. We are so thankful for these doctors. They have been an incredible support system for our family and have helped ensure our daughter has thrived despite her disabilities."

—Cheri Newport (mother)

They gave this dad a new community for his adopted son.

"It wasn’t until I adopted my son in 2014 that I realized the true impact of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. By visiting Children’s Hospital Colorado for my son’s routine checkups and participation in camp programs, I've seen the life-changing effect of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In my small community, many people now know Cody’s story, and my son, who visits Sam’s Club often as a kind of unofficial mascot, encourages associates and customers to participate in fundraising campaigns for the hospital network. The work we do directly impacts families in need. My family is an example of that."

—Cody Nelson (father)

They never gave up on these kids.

"Having one premature baby is a hard experience. Having two? Even harder. But three? All of my three children were born prematurely. Each of my kids spent time in the NICU at West Virginia University Medicine Children’s hospital in Morgantown, WV, where they battled a variety of challenges before going home. Today though, my kids are healthy adults and have kids of their own."

—Lisa Ferrebee-Young (mother)

They got her son back on his feet again.

"Victor is 16 years old, and he loves running. When Hurricane Matthews came, we could hear it knock down a lot of power lines and trees. We all went into the backyard to help cut down some of the trees that would have fallen on our house. At one point, Victor was running across the yard, and a tree fell on top of him. He was medevaced to the Medical University of South Carolina with severe brain injuries. Being able to see him run again — and go back to school and stay in honors classes — was such a relief. With the grace of God and the doctors at the hospital, my son recovered very well from it."

—Kimberlina Huston (mother)

Images courtesy of Children's Miracle Network.

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