AUGUSTA, Ga. — Children’s Hospital of Georgia patient Emma Rhae Taylor has been named the 2013 Georgia Champion by the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals organization. The seven-year-old Hephzibah girl will serve with other Champions from across the nation as a fundraising and awareness ambassador for CMN’s 170 member hospitals.
Emma was chosen for courageously battling mitochondrial disease, and her story helps illustrate the impact of Children’s Hospital of Georgia and why donated funds are needed for treatment, recovery, and charitable care.
Following their official induction as Champions in October, Emma and other young patients visited Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Fla., and historic sites in Washington, D.C., which included a meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama at The White House.
“Emma has really enjoyed her duties as Georgia’s CMN Champion so far,” said her mother Nikki Taylor. “It has been wonderful to meet Champion children and their families from all over the country. Some overcame tragic accidents, some battled and won against cancer, and many, like Emma, are still fighting an illness each day of their lives.”
Emma’s mitochondria cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into the energy her body needs to function. She often has seizures, and her muscles are very weak, requiring her to use a walker and a wheelchair. Emma takes enzymes, vitamins, and other medications to help her mitochondria work like it should. She also gets painful Botox injections to loosen the tightness in her muscles. Because the disorder has no cure, Emma will receive lifelong care at CHOG.
“She sees multiple doctors – a neurologist, a geneticist, a general pediatrician, and sometimes occupational and physical therapists,” Taylor said. “You don’t realize how important it is to have a children’s hospital at your back door until you need it. The physicians and nurses have become like family to us.”
Emma enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, and hunting with her dad. “She is much stronger about this than I would be,” said Taylor. “She never sees herself as not being able to do something; she just does it her own way.”
“We are so proud to have Emma represent the Children’s Hospital of Georgia as our Georgia Champion,” said CHOG Administrator Jim Mumford. “It is children like Emma that remind us of the importance of what we do here. We provide high quality care for kids and their families; we make a ‘big difference’ in the lives of a lot of ‘little people,’ and we couldn’t do that without the support of our community through CMN.”
Emma and her family will share their story on air during the 13th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon this week. Augusta radio stations 104.3 WBBQ and 96.3 KISS FM will broadcast live from the Children’s Hospital lobby today, Friday and Saturday during this annual CMN fundraiser. You can also watch Emma’s story on the WRDW-TV News 12 website at wrdw.com/community/cmn.
The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children.
About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions
Every year, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® Champions program identifies a child with a remarkable medical story from each state. These Champions serve as ambassadors for the millions of children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals annually. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. Delta Air Lines has been a proud supporter of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1998, and this year is supporting the 2013 Champions program as the official sponsor. Chico’s FAS, Inc. is the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Champions. Learn more at CMNHospitals.org/Champions.