Hope for the Holidays

UF Health Jacksonville celebrates the children whose lives have been changed by the work of CMN Hospitals.

Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have been actively supporting better health care for kids. Today, there are more than 170 CMN Hospitals worldwide, specializing in treating children. UF Health Jacksonville is one of two local hospitals that are a part of this network.

A founding principle of CMN Hospitals is that all funds raised stay local. Everything raised in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia is used to purchase medical equipment, child life activities and educational resources for the pediatric programs at UF Health Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
The following stories provide a glimpse of the type of life-changing work health care providers in these organizations are doing.

Traumatic Brain Injury

When Tabitha was 3 years old, she fell 15 feet from a second-story window onto a concrete driveway. She was rushed to UF Health TraumaOne, where she was intubated and CT scans of her brain and body were obtained. After being diagnosed with a skull fracture, a cerebral hemorrhage and a pulmonary contusion, Tabitha was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for recovery. She surprised all of her doctors when they were able to discharge her only four days after the incident. Four weeks later, Tabitha returned to preschool.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Isaiah’s parents brought him to the hospital with a persistent fever. Bloodwork revealed his white blood cell, red blood cell and platelet levels were all low. After further testing, doctors diagnosed the 3-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He immediately received a blood transfusion and his first chemotherapy treatment. For the next nine months following his diagnosis, Isaiah received multiple spinal taps, blood transfusions, weekly chemotherapy treatments and many different medications. Although Isaiah is still not completely free of cancer, there are currently no abnormal cells in his bone marrow and he is responding well to treatment. He will be in the maintenance phase of treatment for the next two years, still receiving oral chemotherapy, multiple medications and spinal taps. Isaiah’s resilient spirit and determination in spite of what he’s endured inspire those who know him.

Congenital Heart Defect

Sandra was born with congenital heart disease and was admitted to the hospital with the label of “failure to thrive” at 3 months old. She spent more than a week in the hospital with a feeding tube to help her gain weight. A few days later, Sandra had surgery to repair a nasal blockage and stayed overnight for observation. Sandra had her first open heart surgery at 7 months old, weighing only 7 pounds. After four months of recovery at home, her health began to flourish. Sandra is now a happy and thriving toddler who amazes her family and friends with her strength and good spirit.