Delta girl named Miracle Network Champion
Ten-year-old Karen Nickoli has been chosen as the 2013 Alaska Champion in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program. Karen spent more than a year at The Children’s Hospital at Providence and finally returned home in March.
Life took an abrupt turn when Karen and her family received her diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Far from her Yup’ik Eskimo home in Russian Mission, Karen stayed at Providence Hickel House, a hospitality home in Anchorage funded in part by CMN Hospitals. She needed frequent blood and platelet transfusions and oral chemotherapy. Relatives sent subsistence foods like salmon and moose for Karen to eat when treatment made other foods taste bad. CMN Hospitals helped fund educators to keep Karen and her sisters caught up in school throughout the year.
Finally, around Thanksgiving 2012, Karen was in remission. She returned to her village, where she was able to get back to her favorite pastime – catching caterpillars. She also enjoys fishing, being around animals, and snowmachining.
Every year, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program identifies a child with a remarkable medical story from each state. The champions serve as ambassadors for the 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals annually. The champions and their families will travel to Orlando, Fla., and Washington, D.C., in October to highlight the work taking place at children’s hospitals around the country.