Stories

2012 Miracle Kid Bios

Each year, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals selects amazing children to represent the patients who are treated at the Children's Hospital at Erlanger and they are known as the Miracle Kids. The courage that these children possess is inspiring and the personal strides that they have made are worthy of recognition.


Anastasia Akridge  
Age: 2 years old
Diagnosis: Profound Hearing Loss
Parents: Jessica Moses and Antonio Akridge
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

At 3 months old, Anastasia developed seizures. A spinal tap revealed she had meningitis, and the infant was put on a feeding tube and breathing machine. The sounds of her cry then showed another complication. She had lost the hearing in both ears. Now, with the help of cochlear implants, this toddler goes to preschool, talks in sign language and dances with the radio turned on full blast. “She has amazed me with the progress she has made,” said her mom, Jessica. “She went from hearing nothing to responding to everything.”


Andrew Ellis   
Age: 9 years old
Diagnosis: Traumatic Brain Injury
Parents: Wendy and Michael Ellis
Hometown: Rossville, GA

One of the April 2011 tornados that whirled through Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama threw Andrew 500 feet into a field and left him under power lines. Life Force flew in and rushed the boy to Erlanger. Andrew suffered way more than a traumatic brain injury, a crushed foot, broken femur, third degree burns and multiple lacerations. He suffered the loss of his 17-year-old brother, a cousin, grandmother and great-grandmother. But this third-grader who had to learn to walk again is always all smiles. Andrew’s future career is a member on the SWAT team. “He is an inspiration to so many,” said his mom, Wendy. “He is very positive and very caring.”


Mario Estrada  
Age: 8 years old
Diagnosis: Traumatic Brain Injury
Parents: Olga Baltazar and David Escalona
Hometown: Hixson, TN

In October 2010, Mario was severely injured when he was hit by car crossing a street in his neighborhood. He was knocked unconscious and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He spent three weeks in the PICU and a total of a month in a hospital bed. Although his life was touch and go for some time, Mario bounced back and has been in speech and physical therapies. The second grader loves PlayStation, cartoons, math the music of Marc Anthony. “He survived and lived through that accident,” said his mom, Olga. “He is a miracle to me.”


Christopher Flores  
Age: 18 months old
Diagnosis: Prematurely born at 24 weeks
Parents: April and Armando Flores
Hometown: Ringgold, GA

Due to complications of a high-risk pregnancy, Christopher was born via emergency C-section at 24 weeks, weighing just 1 pound, 11 ounces. During his 3 ½ months in the NICU, he experienced breathing issues, brain bleed, high blood pressure and other factors of being born early. Christopher went home weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces and is in physical and speech therapies. He is a very independent boy who loves to play with anything that makes noise. “I was told I’d never have kids,” said Christopher’s mom, April. “I’m very proud of my son. He’s been a fighter since day one.”


Madalyn Mary-Grace Henson  
Age: 19 months old
Diagnosis: Prematurely born at 26 weeks
Parents: Janie and Steve Henson
Hometown: Resaca, GA

Madalyn was delivered by emergency C-section at 26 weeks, weighing just over 2 pounds. Immediately after birth, she was transported from a hospital in Georgia to Erlanger’s NICU. Then, when Madalyn was just four days old, her heart stopped beating. Two nurses and a doctor worked nonstop to get Madalyn’s tiny heart to beat. Complications included a brain bleed and kidney failure, but because of great healthcare team and prayer, her parents say she is perfect. “We know Madalyn is a true Miracle Child,” said her mom, Janie, “and a gift from God.”


Trevor Houston  
Age: 5 years old
Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Parents: Kelli and Sam Houston
Hometown: Bridgeport, AL

When Trevor was just 4 years old, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Trevor is now in remission and is in maintenance treatment, which includes coming to the pediatric oncology clinic every week for blood work and chemotherapy every 12 weeks. He also takes chemo by mouth every night at home. He will continue with this treatment until April 2014. Trevor will go to kindergarten next year and loves video games, ninjas, cowboys and sports. “The whole thing just puts life in a new perspective, said Kelli, Trevor’s mom. “You see what a true blessing Trevor is.”


Breslin Shamir Knight, Nickname Breezy  
Age: 11 months old
Diagnosis: Oxygen Deprived at birth
Parents: Annabell and Darryl Knight
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

After trying to have a baby for 13 years, Annabell finally had a “perfect” pregnancy. But when it came time to induce labor, her baby boy’s heart rate suddenly dropped. Doctors did an emergency C-section, but the baby wasn’t breathing. Using a cooling blanket, Breezy was transported from Erlanger East to the NICU on the Baroness Campus, where he spent eight days. Breezy is now a healthy and happy baby who whistles while he crawls. “It was a miracle in itself just having him,” said Breezy’s mom, Annabell. “He is an awesome child. God sent him to us. He is a miracle.”


Aiden Palmer   
Age: 2 years old
Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Parents: Heather and Lucas Palmer
Hometown: Harrison, TN

Aiden was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when he was just a year old. Since then, he has spent every holiday in the hospital. Recently, Aiden started having seizures, but he is a happy kid who is in physical, speech and feeding therapies. He loves his stuffed cow and his big sister, Makayla, who is 5 years old. “I wanted him so bad,” said his mom, Heather. “Everything that has happened is not as bad as it could be. For me, both of my kids, my world revolves around them. When Aiden smiles, my world is better.”


Erica Robinson   
Age: 11 years old
Diagnosis: Sickle Cell Disease
Parents: Tina and Tony Robinson
Hometown: Ringgold, GA

Erica was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at birth and has spent numerous days in the hospital for blood transfusions, gall bladder removal and pain crisis. But the disease doesn’t stop this beautiful and talented 7th grader who wants to be a nurse or a child life specialist when she’s older. Erica is very crafty. Just give her some fabric and a hot glue gun and she’ll make outfits for her American Girl dolls. “I am proud of Erica,” said her mom, Tina, “because I see this as an opportunity for her to help and bless other children.”


Grace and Elise Taylor  
Age: 6 years oldDiagnosis: Mono-mono Twins
Parents: Betsy and Brent Taylor
Hometown: Lookout Mountain, TN

Grace and Elise Taylor are a very rare form of identical twins called mono-mono twins. That means they shared both a placenta and a single amniotic sac during development. The shared sac means there was no barrier between the two babies, and about 50% die because of cord entanglement. After intense management of the pregnancy here at Erlanger, Grace and Elise were born 8 weeks early on Valentine's Day of 2005, and spent 5 weeks in the NICU. This September, Grace was diagnosed with a congenital brain tumor that had to be removed before it threatened her vision, hearing or mobility. She had surgery on November 11 of this year, and 100% of the tumor was successfully removed.
"Grace and Elise are our miracle girls,” said their mom, Betsy. “When diagnosed with this challenging pregnancy, an employee of Erlanger said to me, 'If God can put them in there like that, He can get them out of there like that.' It became our mantra, and we are incredibly grateful for all Erlanger has done to give us two happy, healthy little girls who are the greatest blessing in our lives."


Johnathan Oshae Watkins  
Age: 3 years old
Diagnosis: Sickle Cell Disease
Parents: Lucinda Watkins
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

During a newborn screening, it was discovered that Johnathan had Sickle Cell Disease. During the first year of his life, he was in and out of the hospital. He has had some setbacks, but he is a happy toddler who loves trucks and playing football in the field with his mom. Johnathan also loves to eat! “I am so proud of my son because he is sweet and kind,” said Lucinda, Johnathan’s mom. He’s just a miracle all by himself.”