Most people have probably seen the paper red and yellow hot air balloons available for a $1 donation at local businesses. But do people stop to pay attention to what organization these balloons represent? And if so, do they even understand how it benefits children right here in our local communities? The organization is the Children’s Miracle Network, but beyond these paper red and yellow hot air balloons, this is where most people’s knowledge of the organization ends. Unless of course, your child needs specialized medical care at one of these 170 sponsored children’s hospitals.
Brian and Amy Shaw of Wauseon understand more about the Children’s Miracle Network now than they did just a few short years ago. Their precious daughter Esty Shaw whom they adopted from China in January 2014 has a diagnosis of spina bifida, but it certainly does not define who this amazing 11 year old girl is.
Esty’s smile and determination have captured the hearts of those she encounters, and this year, she and her family have been chosen as a local Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Family.
Ret Lane, PR Special Event Planner at the Mercy Foundation, shares, “Esty and her family were chosen as a Miracle Family to represent Mercy Children’s Hospital on the basis that she had been cared for at Mercy Children’s Hospital. Esty and her family are grateful patients and were willing to share their story regarding their experience and treatment at Mercy Children’s Hospital.”
The Children’s Miracle Network is a national organization founded in 1983 that assists 170 children’s hospitals around the nation. Locally, the Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo is one of those 170 children’s hospitals that the Children’s Miracle Network partners with to help local children and their families with medically related needs.
Local donations stay within the community. The Children’s Miracle Network allows the local partner hospital to decide how the funds should be used to ensure that local donations are benefitting local kids for the special needs within that community.
Esty’s story is an on-going journey of healing literally one step at a time. While the Shaws were in China to meet Esty and bring her home to her forever family, her condition went septic as an infection spread through her blood. When her condition stabilized enough for the couple to return to the States with their newly adopted daughter, they sought medical care at the Mercy’s Children’s Hospital in Toledo.
During regular visits, Esty is seen by an urologist, developmental pediatrician, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, an orthotist, and a nephrologist. Amy appreciates that they are able to see these specialists in one room during one visit rather than having to make six separate appointments. The relationships that develop between the families, children, and medical professionals are important. Esty’s orthotist, a professional who specializes in fitting prosthetics, creates and fits Esty’s ankle and foot prosthetic as well as her back brace. Both of these adaptations have provided her with the stability to stand up and walk. In addition, understanding the benefits of music, he provided Esty with a violin after observing her playing music on her parents’ IPad. Stringed instruments are beneficial in language development.
As a local Children’s Miracle Network child, Esty places a local face to what the organization stands for. The mission of the Children’s Miracle Network is to save the lives of children by raising funds and awareness for children’s hospitals and foundations. Amy believes, “When people give, they are able to see the real life impact on children. From an orphanage with little to no medical care to now being able to walk, it is because of what this team [the Mercy’s Children Hospital] has done.”
Esty’s special honor included a television interview with Melissa Andrews of WTOL. The highlights of the interview for Esty included a day out of school and footage that included lots of 1-1 time playing games and reading with her mother. Amy was also required to provide pre-adoption photos and photos of Esty using her wheelchair.
Esty’s story will air in the 9 a.m. hour on WTOL on April 14th, and after that will be available online. The Mercy’s Children Hospital Telethon will be held at the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center on April 18 and will air on WTOL Channel 11 from 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Esty is the face of a survivor, the face of strength, and the face of a carefree child loved by her family. Esty is a Miracle child. To learn more about the Children’s Miracle Network, visit CMNHospitals.org.
Tammy may be reached at
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