Our champion children are the entire reason our organization exists! This season, we will focus on these 10 children, pairing them up with a CC4C alumnus/alumna champion child, a champion teammate, and a high school team who, together, create a team of inspiration and support as they race toward their recovery finish line.
2014 – 2015 Champion Children
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Cedar Park High School Celebrities
As a toddler, Maddie was often very sick. She had repeat sinus and respiratory infections, and when she was four years old, she had sinus surgery. Maddie remained relatively healthy for a few years after that, but then she developed a sinus infection that wouldn’t clear after 10 days on an antibiotic. Her ENT doctor put her on a 21-day course of sulpha drugs to knock out the infection. On day 19, she received a flu shot and within two hours had a high fever.
After one week, Maddie was hospitalized for Steven Johnson’s Syndrome. This disease occurs when the body doesn’t have enough immunoglobins to fight off infections. It affects the body anywhere there are mucous membranes present, both internally and externally, and causes a blistering rash inside and out.
Maddie received an implant to slow puberty down so she could grow. In the past five years, she has had three ports. They are supposed to last three years, but her body continually rejects them after roughly one year. The treatment for this disease is IV infusions. She has received one each month for the past five years. Chiropractic care helps prevent her from getting migraines and sinus infections. Her favorite quote is “Live strong, fight hard!”
She is partially homeschooled, but she’ll be spending a lot of time with her brand new “Celebrities.” She will be an honorary member of the Cedar Park High School drill team.
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Lake Travis Cavalettes
Eva was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis when she was five years old. This particular type of arthritis is a joint problem that often occurs in conjunction with psoriasis.
For three years, she bravely battled through this diagnosis. When she was eight years old, she began experiencing pain in her right eye. She had partial vision loss in both eyes—20/200—which was irreversible and uncorrectable with eyeglasses. She has seen three different types of ophthalmologists and is currently under the care of a neurologist.
Eva’s favorite quote is “Never give up,” and her hobbies include basketball, cheerleading, dance and gymnastics. The Lake Travis Cavalettes are excited to welcome her into their family as an honorary Cavelette this year.
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Hays High School Football
Ty’s started showing signs of health problems a little more than seven years ago. Over the course of time, he has been given 20 different diagnoses with no treatment or explanation.
He has been diagnosed with primary hyperoxaluria, a disease that causes repeated kidney stones, enteric hyperoxluria, celiac disease, failure-to-thrive, anorexia, gastroparesis, gastrointestinal motility disorder, asthma, REM sleep behavior disorder, a weekened immune system, gastroesphogeal reflux disease, executive function disorder, secondary ADHD, significant short-term memory impairment, adjustment disorder with anxiety and fibromyalgia.
He is on several medications, infusions and a gluten-free, low oxalate, low sodium and high potassium diet. Pierce has a MIC-KEY Button feeding tube to help him get stronger and feel better.
Ty is home-schooled, but this fall he will spend his Friday nights cheering on his new honorary teammates, the Hays High School football team.
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Anderson High School Drill Team
After a vision appointment concluded that Dia’s optic nerve was dull, she had an MRI. Doctors discovered that Dia had a brain tumor, and she underwent brain surgery. Following the surgery, she went blind and the doctors concluded that there was no way to remove the tumor.
Dia underwent several surgeries over the next four months and doctors felt hopeful that her vision would return. The brain tumor is still active, and she has not been able to regain her vision.
Her official diagnosis, craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor derived from the pituitary gland, is rare amongst young children. Dia’s next step is to undergo radiation to remove the tumor, but doctors are prolonging this treatment in hopes that she will start to regain her vision first. She commutes to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for treatment.
When she’s not commuting to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for treatment or in school, she’ll be with her brand new teammates on the Anderson High School Drill Team.
Dia’s favorite quote is “Without sight, there is still vision.”
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Bowie High School Basketball
At six years old, Chase contracted bacterial meningitis. He had been playing football in the yard and within moments, had fallen into unconsciousness. With a three percent chance of survival, Chase stayed in a coma and on life support for 10 days with little to no brain activity. After miraculously waking up, it seemed his body had basically made a full recovery. Slowly, his doctors began to realize after repeated illnesses and infections that his body’s ability to make his own antibodies had been destroyed by meningitis. He basically no longer has his own immune system.
For the past four years, Chase has been under the care of the Infectious Department at Dell Children’s Medical Center. He receives an IV infusion every month. Each infusion is a mixture of 20,000 different donor’s antibodies, giving him the best chance of being able to fight the many germs he comes in contact with. Through trial and error, the staff at Dell has done an amazing job matching him with a donor pool that has little rejection on his part.
Chase has been given a broad diagnosis of Primary Immune Deficiency Disease. Doctors believe his disease is more specific and continue to work toward a more specific diagnosis.
Chase loves all things sports with basketball being his true passion. His favorite quote is “Be strong… Live life!” This basketball season you’ll find him cheering on his new teammates at Bowie High School.
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Regents School of Austin Football
After his eyes became shaky at three months old, Jeremy’s eyes stopped tracking movement one month later. Doctors in Houston and at the Cleveland Clinic weren’t successful in finding any type of diagnosis but warned his parents that he was quickly deteriorating and most likely would not live past one year.
At nine months, he had stopped smiling altogether and either slept or cried nonstop. A CT scan presented Jeremy with a craniosynostosis diagnosis. This is a birth defect that causes all of the skull plates to fuse together, preventing the skull from expanding to accommodate brain growth. Jeremy underwent surgery to relieve the cranial pressure at 13 months old, and his vision returned but his muscles remained extremely weak.
Doctors in Dallas, at the National Institutes of Health and Duke University guess that Jeremy has an endocrine disease because of the involvement of both bone and muscle. His condition causes his muscles to be so weak that he cannot walk, talk, sit or lift his head for long periods of time. He has constant headaches, nausea, neck and joint pain. Jeremy has had more than 40 surgeries, including five major skull surgeries, two heart surgeries and eight on his eyes.
He taught himself to read and write, a huge surprise to his family. He works extremely hard at daily exercises to strengthen his muscles and is working hard to find an easier way to communicate with everyone around him.
The Regents School of Austin football team is excited to have Jeremy hop on board this season as their newest honorary teammate. His favorite quote is “Believe in yourself.”
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Georgetown High School Lacrosse
Caroline was born with Job syndrome, and at age three, officially diagnosed.
Job syndrome is a rare, inherited disease that is known to trigger problems with the skin, sinuses, lungs, bones, and teeth. It causes the skin to become covered in rash-like boils from head to toe.
For the first three years of her life, Caroline visited Texas Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic and an Immune Deficiency Foundation Conference hoping to obtain insight into immune disorders. She has had multiple pneumonias, surgeries and hospitalizations.
Caroline’s favorite quote is “No fear.” At school, she plays the violin, and she loves to cook and bake when she’s at home.
This year, she is a proud, new honorary member of the Georgetown High School Girls Lacrosse team… Eagle Fight Never Dies!
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Hutto High School Football
Drew was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when he was 11 years old. Nineteen months after the diagnosis, a series of illnesses led him to two more diagnoses—Lyme disease and occipital neuralgia.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through tick bites. Occipital neuralgia is chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the eyes. It is caused by damage to the greater occipital nerve, a spinal nerve that affects blood supply to the occipital artery.
His favorite quote is “When you get knocked down, get back up.” The Hutto High School Football team is excited to welcome Drew as their new honorary teammate this season.
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Cedar Park High School FFA
Evelyn was born with mild breathing difficulties and no startle reflex. She had tubes put in at nine months old, after she had chronic ear infections. This caused her hearing, speech and motor skills to be delayed.
By age three, Evelyn was having increasing issues with her gastrointestinal health, respiratory and immune system health. Her eating and behavioral problems were also increasing. She was diagnosed with obesity, immunoglobulin G deficiency, gastroesophageal reflux disease and behavioral issues.
In 2005, the Wirth family moved to Austin from New Orleans. Evelyn’s new doctors also added autism, eating and sleeping disorders, epilepsy and asthma to her diagnoses. Evelyn has been under the care of five geneticists.
Evelyn’s favorite quote is “Come on, get happy!” This year, she’ll be joining the FFA program at her own school, Cedar Park High School
CHAMPION HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Vandergrift High School Lacrosse
It doesn’t seem real, and it’s certainly not right, but with great sadness we lost our sweet Pierce to a brain hemorrhage on October 4, 2014. He fought the good fight against his brain tumor, and is now in heaven. God sometimes just needs his favorites up there sooner than we can understand.
Pierce was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a grade three tumor, on his right thalamus when he was 10 years old. The tumor size was too large for surgery. Because of the tumor’s diffused nature and location, surgery was deemed not plausible, and it presented too many risks of complications at the time of diagnosis.
His treatment included proton radiation, chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and a ketogenic (a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate) diet.
Four months after his diagnosis, the tumor was upgraded to a Glioblastoma, a grade four tumor. Glioblastomas are a rare and aggressive brain tumor with poor prognosis.
Pierce’s favorite quote was “Keep the faith, bro!” The Vandergrift High School lacrosse team was wonderful in bringing Pierce in as their honorary teammate earlier this season.