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It Takes a Village

Eli's StoryThis is Eli. He is my son, and if he doesn’t look a typical 2nd grader, that’s because he isn’t. He’s so much more.

Eight years ago, when I was pregnant, my doctor told me Eli probably wouldn’t survive childbirth. Before he was born, Eli was diagnosed with the most severe case of spina bifida ever recorded.

I remember asking God for patience, and God gave me Eli. God gave us 40 diagnoses, 44 surgeries, 30 subspecialists and one awesome Children’s Hospital. They have saved Eli more times than I can count. They are more than just doctors and nurses, they are my family.

As Eli’s mom, I learned there is no rule book and no instruction manual for caring for kids like Eli. Eli takes a village, and Children’s Hospital is my village. As a frequent visitor, I see the kids they help daily. It’s families like us who rely on Children’s Hospital to keep our kids alive.

Eli and family lead the way at the Butterfly Dash
Eli and family lead the way at the Butterfly Dash

Each day is a new adventure with my son. Each day is a new challenge. Each day with Eli is a blessing and not guaranteed. Eli will never be the star quarterback, nor will he ever be able to do things all the other kids do, but he is perfect and he is mine. I thank God everyday for giving him to me. And every time we are at Children’s Hospital and I see Eli laughing with his nurses or joking with complete strangers, I know he is right where he needs to be.

Eli, age 7, with Crystal, third floor assistant nurse manager
Eli, age 8, with Crystal, third floor assistant nurse manager

We have met so many families who are blessed by this organization. From our friends at the hospital, to Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Home Health Care, there are so many families who benefit from the resources this hospital offers. Anyone who helps support East Tennessee Children’s Hospital isn’t just supporting a hospital; they’re helping families and children live up to their full potential.

Thank you for giving kids like Eli a future.

For Eli,

Read more about Eli’s journey
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