Eli's story

Puberty can be a trying time for any teenager. For Eli, who has cerebral palsy, puberty has been especially difficult. Eli's recent growth spurts have put a strain on his body, and his muscles aren't able to keep up with the rest of his body's growth. This has caused knee contractures, a condition where Eli's legs can't fully extend, making it almost impossible for him to sit comfortably in his wheelchair.

On top of that, Eli is scheduled for surgery to have a pump implanted to allow medicine to be injected directly into his spine. This medicine will help control the hyperactive reflexes and excessive muscle tone that are common symptoms of cerebral palsy.

In order to have the surgery, Eli first needs several appointments to ensure his body can handle it. Those appointments can only be performed by specialists at Seattle Children's Hospital. Day trips to Seattle take a minimum of seven hours—seven hours in a wheelchair that doesn't fit Eli's changing body properly and is uncomfortable to sit in.

The CHAMP campaign will bring more specialists from Seattle to Children's Village to treat children like Eli close to home and eliminate the need for painful, seven-hour trips across the mountains.

Watch Eli's Story

Donate to the CHAMP Campaign to help kids like Eli get the health care they need close to home.
Donate to the CHAMP Campaign to help babies like Alex who need intensive care after birth.

Alex's story

When he was born on October 29, 2008, Alex was a beautiful, healthy, full-term (41 weeks) baby. It wasn't until his six-month checkup when Alex's mother Danielle learned something was wrong. Alex's head measured abnormally large and his doctor sent him for a CT scan. They found Alex had congenital hydrocephalus—an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Doctor's referred Alex to Seattle Children's Hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery to place a shunt in March 2009.

Following surgery, Danielle noticed Alex wasn't meeting his milestones. He wasn't sitting, rolling over, using his left arm, or crawling. In September 2009, he was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. They believe the cause was the severity of the hydrocephalus. With limited movement in his arms and legs, Alex became dependent on a wheelchair.

After his diagnosis, Alex began visiting Children's Village and meeting with Laura, a physical therapist who worked with him until he started preschool. Danielle says Laura was amazing, making therapy fun and helping the family better understand cerebral palsy.

In 2010, Alex met Allison, his current physical therapist. She has helped him reach many goals and was there when he took his first step. In addition to physical therapy, Alex had difficulty speaking and took speech therapy and hippotherapy (equine or horse therapy) in 2011, graduating from it in 2014.

In June 2015 Alex underwent a bilateral surgery to lengthen the tendons and ligaments in his legs, hips, and ankles. His surgery also reconstructed both feet so he could achieve better range of motion and the possibility of walking!

The surgery was a success. Alex worked with Allison in intensive therapy three times a week and now, thanks to his care at Children's Village, Alex walks unaided both with and without a walker! He keeps progressing and thriving. In Alex's book, failure is not an option!

Through Children's Village, Alex has found a degree of independence. By supporting the Children's health campaign, we can grow capacity and help more children like Alex find the strength to conquer the world.

Jonah's story

When doctors told Jenna in the later weeks of her pregnancy that her baby was measuring small, she didn't think much of it. So it was a shock when, at 31 weeks, Jonah decided to make a surprise appearance. Jonah was born at MultiCare Yakima Memorial Hospital nine weeks early and weighed only 2 lbs., 13 oz. He was immediately admitted to the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Being first-time parents, Jenna and Matthew were unsure about what to do and relied on the experienced staff and providers in the Family Birthplace to guide them. They built incredible bonds with the team over the next 52 days. Jonah grew stronger through the love and attention of his parents and the Family Birthplace staff and was finally allowed to go home.

Jonah caught up developmentally by around five months, and with the help and support of Children's Village he receives physical therapy and other service to ensure he stays on track.

Jenna and Matthew say they couldn't have done it without the care, support, and expertise of the Family Birthplace staff. “The Family Birthplace became our safe haven because of the people inside.”

The CHAMP campaign puts much needed funds toward making sure the Family Birthplace has warmers, equipment, and essential blended air necessary for delicate newborns. With your support, we can help more children like Jonah overcome the dangers of pre-term labor and catch up to their peers.

Donate to the CHAMP Campaign to help kids like Jonah who are born premature.
Donate to the CHAMP Campaign to help babies like Travlyn get the health care they need at the Family Birthplace at Memorial Hospital.

Travlyn's story

After an emergency C-section, Travlyn was born at MultiCare Yakima Memorial Hospital to parents Andes and Cody. During labor, Travlyn's umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, causing her heart rate to drop drastically. Cody waited while Family Birthplace staff swiftly intervened. During the longest twenty minutes of his life, a nurse took time to assure Cody, and a doctor let him know they were able to stabilize the situation. There were tears of joy all around. Cody shared, “I am just blown away by the actions the medical team took to keep our family safe. We are forever thankful for them and their calm under immense pressure. We are now all at home and enjoying every second of this new season of our lives.”

The CHAMP campaign puts much needed funding toward the Family Birthplace for warmers, equipment, and essential blended oxygen necessary for delicate newborn births. With your support, The CHAMP campaign will allow more babies like Travlyn to survive and thrive.

Hear the story from Travlyn's dad:

Do you have a story to share about the life-changing services at Children's Village or the Family Birthplace? We'd love to hear it!

Erin Black

Message from Erin, CEO

I am in awe of the children I meet. Their little bodies may fight their every move, their lungs may need extra time, or enormous effort is needed to meet small milestones. Some of the strongest children I've encountered are those facing a life-limiting illness. When I look into their eyes, I see resolve, determination, and hope. Their spirits are inextinguishable. They are CHAMPS.

These children make an impact on everyone they meet in innumerable ways. They understand the importance of enjoying little moments and celebrating small successes. They know gratitude and the real meaning of strength. It is our passion to show that same strength and support for children and their families.

Everything we do is in partnership with parents and families—it's all about strengthening families. Strong children today will change the world tomorrow. Support The Memorial Foundation's Children's Health and Medical Program campaign today and join our cause to support children's health right here in Yakima. Your generosity has the power to change lives. Be one of our CHAMPIONS and give today.