Bon voyage Milca! Physicians, family members and friends gathered at Children’s Hospital Central California to wish Milca Gutierrez well as she begins her Champions Across America presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club journey.
Milca will join child ambassadors from every state who are participating in the Children’s Miracle Network’s program. It highlights the important work being done at children’s hospitals by honoring remarkable children like Milca who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
The Fresno native and her fellow champions will travel for one week – first to Florida for the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort, and then to Washington, DC to visit Capitol Hill. There she will share her story about her battle against a rare genetic condition called osteogensis imperfecta or brittle bone disease. This disorder affects the connective tissue and the slighted bump can cause a fracture.
Milca was four months old when the disease was discovered. The 11-year-old has been seen at the Orthopaedic Surgery and Genetic Medicine & Metabolism practices at Children’s more than 180 times and has undergone more than 10 operations. Thanks to the cutting-edge medical care she receives, Milca is able to live an active life. Her favorite activities include swimming and math, and she dreams of becoming a doctor and helping others. Milca may continue to be treated for fractures for the rest of her life, but her positive spirit will never break.
In the week leading up to her trip, Milca was surprised with a $500 Walmart gift card to help her prepare for her travels to Orlando and Washington. She spent a special day with her friends at Children’s including a pizza party with Orthopaedic nurses and support staff and a special send-off ceremony in the hospital’s donor recognition area. Her class from Powers Elementary School was on hand to help hospital staff present her with gifts for her trip including luggage. The California Highway Patrol motor officers served as her special escorts to and from the hospital.
You can follow Milca’s journey March 18 - 25 by visiting her blog at www.2009californiachampion.blogspot.com.
Since 1987, Children’s Miracle Network and Wal-Mart have worked together to help children by raising money for children’s hospitals. Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members have raised and contributed more than $460 million for children’s hospitals. In 2008 Walmart and Sam’s Club contributed $1,759,827 to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in California.