TEMPLE, Texas, Dec. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirteen-year-old Dustin Strelsky of Rockdale, Texas, will visit Capitol Hill to share his incredible medical story with Children's Miracle Network's program champions from around the nation.
Dustin, 13, who suffered a spinal cord injury after a two-vehicle highway collision, will join child ambassadors, called champions, from every state as part of the "Children's Miracle Network Champions Program." The program brings attention to the important work being done at children's hospitals throughout the U.S. by honoring remarkable children like Dustin who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
Dustin's mother, Jennifer Strelsky, was driving when a car crossed over into her lane and struck them head on. Jennifer sustained a fractured pelvis and a punctured lung, while Katie, Dustin's sister, broke numerous bones in both her arms. Dustin, the most seriously injured of the three, was immediately taken to The Children's Hospital at Scott & White for a head injury. During Dustin's hospitalization, he had a total of five surgeries, which included fractures in his face. His jaw was broken on both sides.
Dustin and his fellow champions will travel as representatives of the 17 million children treated at Children's Miracle Network hospitals each year throughout the U.S. The champions will first head to Washington, D.C., where they'll visit the White House and Capitol Hill to share their courageous and inspiring stories, then to Orlando, Fla., for the Children's Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort.
"Dustin is an incredibly brave individual with a supporting family and I'm convinced that this injury, albeit life-changing, will not ultimately define Dustin's life," said Danny Little, MD, pediatric surgeon at The Children's Hospital at Scott & White. "We're delighted that he has this unique opportunity to represent the Children's Miracle Network and The Children's Hospital at Scott & White as an ambassador in 2011."
The Children's Miracle Network Champions program honors remarkable children from the United States and Canada who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges. For their courage and perseverance, these children have been selected as international ambassadors to raise awareness for the 17 million kids treated each year at Children's Miracle Network children's hospitals. This program is dedicated to the Champions from the U.S. and Canada which includes children who have braved illnesses such as brittle bone disease, brain tumors, leukemia and cerebral palsy, and survived gunshot wounds and lawnmower accidents. In 25 years as a Children's Miracle Network hospital, Dustin is the first child to be chosen that Scott & White has nominated.
"The Children's Miracle Network and Scott & White are absolutely amazing and we're very proud of Dustin," said Jennifer Strelsky. "Dustin was so excited that he was chosen to be the ambassador of Texas, and Children's Miracle Network has shown us that there are organizations and people that sincerely care about children and their families when they experience an injury or disabilities in their life. Dustin is proud and honored to represent Texas."
Scott & White joined the Children's Miracle Network in 1986 and since that time, more than $12 million has been contributed to help support The Children's Hospital at Scott & White. The Children's Hospital at Scott & White provides medical services to a region that encompasses more than 25,000 square miles and serves children of all ages and backgrounds for every imaginable disease and injury — from asthma and broken bones to cancer and heart defects.
This fall, Dustin was also selected as Scott & White's "Hero of the Month" for exemplifying a positive attitude and serving as an inspiration to Scott & White hospital staff.
First stand-alone Children's Hospital between Austin and Dallas
Scott & White is building a new Children's Hospital to serve the Central Texas region that will be the first stand-alone Children's Hospital between Austin and Dallas. Through continued philanthropic support, Scott & White will be able to provide the highest quality care in a child-friendly environment for Central Texas' youngest and most vulnerable patients. The Scott & White Children's Hospital officially began construction on September 1, 2010. The 47-acre campus located in Temple, Texas, will be home to a 64-bed hospital with 149,000 square feet of advanced, high quality pediatric care space.
About Children's Miracle Network
Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals. Each year the 170 Children's Miracle Network hospitals provide the finest medical care, life-saving research and preventative education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind. To learn more go to ChildrensMiracleNetwork.org. Since 1983 Children's Miracle Network has worked to raise money for children's hospitals.
About Scott & White Healthcare (sw.org)
Scott & White Healthcare is a non-profit collaborative health care system established in 1897 in Temple, TX. The system, one of the nation's largest multi-specialty group practices, provides personalized, comprehensive, high-quality health care enhanced by medical education and research. The system's Temple campus serves as the principal clinical four-year teaching facility for the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Scott & White Healthcare staff of 12,000 includes more than 800 physicians and scientists and nearly 400 specialized health care providers. The system has 12 hospitals or hospital partners, and more than 60 clinic locations throughout Central Texas.
SOURCE Scott & White Healthcare