Amisha Hockridge selected as 2013 Saskatchewan Champion Child

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Amisha Hockridge selected as Saskatchewan Champion Child by the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan

Swift Current's Amisha Hockridge was announced as the 2013 Champion Child for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan during a ceremony at the Swift Current Walmart last Thursday.

Hockridge will serve as the ambassador of Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan for a series of high profile events over the coming year. This October, Amisha and her family with attend Children's Miracle Network festivities in Toronto, along with other Champions from across Canada. They will then travel to Disney World in Florida to attend an event with Champions from across North America.

"As Saskatchewan's ambassador, Amisha will bring insight into the lives of the sick and injured children across our province by sharing her story," explained Jana Shychoski, Provincial Development Manager for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

"These extraordinary kids help teach us the importance of the tremendous work that is taking place in Children's Hospitals," Shychoski said. "She knows better than anyone how important a dedicated Children's Hospital is."

This will be a particularly exciting year ahead for Hockridge, with the ground breaking of the new dedicated Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan planned for 2014.

"She knows first-hand what a difference it can make in her stay and in her life. By not having a Children's Hospital here in Saskatchewan, they aren't having that comfort and their family by them. So in the new Children's Hospital it's all going to be private rooms… trying to make it as comfortable as possible," Shychoski noted.

Hockridge, now nine-years-old, was born with the rare condition Microtia and was born without her outer and middle right ear, her spinal cord was tethered, and one of her kidneys was performing at 30 per cent capacity. Over the years she has undergone reconstructive ear surgery and spinal surgery, while she continued to have her kidney's monitored to ensure that kidney failure does not affect her health.

Mike Hockridge said the family has been on pins and needles awaiting their chance to announce Amisha as the Champion Child for the Children's Hospital Foundation.

"We've been waiting for this day for a while. Amisha's known for a little bit since the nomination and getting it. We're letting it all soak in about what being a Champion means and what she gets to do for the next year to represent the Foundation."

The family will be highlighting the benefits of children's hospitals after an exhaustive series of surgeries and medical appointments dating back to when Amisha was six months of age. After being born without her outer and middle right ear, not only did the family have to deal with this obvious aspect of Microtia, but they also deal with the hidden impacts on Amisha's kidneys. In addition, at age two-and-a-half, it was discovered Amisha's spine was tethered and she required surgery to have that fixed, otherwise she would have eventually have lost the use of her legs. At the age of six she began a series of four ear surgeries to give her two ears. And while it has been a long road already, Amisha still has to monitor kidneys, and will have to for the rest of her life.

"Amisha's been going through medical stuff since she was six months old, so it's been a long road. But she's just happy she's healthy enough and well enough to help other people."

With the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan being Saskatchewan member of the Children's Miracle Network, they have partnered up to deliver the Champion Child program.

"The program honours remarkable children that have triumphed despite medical challenge throughout their lives. So for their courage and perseverance these children, all across Canada, have been selected to represent their Children's Hospital Foundation," Shychoski noted. "These extraordinary kids help teach us the importance of the tremendous work that is taking place in Children's Hospitals."

Walmart has the distinction of being single largest fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, and corporately they are proud to present the Champions program through their support of the Children's Miracle Network.

"It's one of our big events that we take pride in," said Swift Current Walmart store manager Patrick Headrick. "Throughout the year all the stores across Canada raise money for the Children's Miracle Network."

Organizations: Children's Hospital Foundation

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Swift Current

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