Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hannah's Story

Hannah Bilton
Age 9
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital

Within a nine-day period, the Bilton family faced a life-changing time when both mother and daughter began battling cancer together. Hannah was too young to fully understand her diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at first. But, said her dad Jason, “She never questioned why and never looked back. She faced this demon trying to take over her body like a true superhero.”

Loved ones continually sing Hannah’s praises. “She’s tougher than a Louisville slugger and sweet as a Hershey’s Kiss,” said aunt Nancy. Hannah’s mom Wendy is perhaps Hannah’s biggest fan. The day before Wendy’s surgery, her 5-year-old daughter shocked her with these words: “Mom, you’re going to be okay. See, I had my port put in and I’m fine. It didn’t hurt. You’re going to be fine, too.”

Regardless of cancer’s hardships, Hannah never wanted to quit. She knew the treatments were needed to get her better, and she didn’t complain. “She faced this ugly monster called cancer with pure determination,” said Nancy. Two years later, Hannah overcame cancer and is now ready to resume life as a busy 9-year-old—without leukemia. Said Jason, “She can do whatever she puts her mind to while forever wearing her superhero cape.”

About Walmart and Sam's Club

Wal-Mart has supported Children’s Miracle Network since 1987. Since then, Children’s Miracle Network and Wal-Mart have worked tirelessly together to help children by raising money for children’s hospitals. Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members have raised more than $460 million for children’s hospitals during the relationship. This is the first year Walmart and Sam’s Club have sponsored the Champions Across America program.

Champions Across America presented by Walmart and Sam's Club

Champions Across America presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club is a Children's Miracle Network program that brings attention to the important work being done at children’s hospitals by honoring remarkable children who have faced severe medical challenges.

The Champions Across America program designates a Champion child in every state who has bravely battled a serious injury or illness. The Champions represent the nearly 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals every year. The 2009 Champions have dealt with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses including brittle bone disease, brain tumors and cerebral palsy, as well as surviving car accidents and plane crashes.

As part of Champions Across America, the Champions travel for a week – first to Florida to meet Children’s Miracle Network sponsors, hospital and media partners who all convene to celebrate a year of medical miracles during the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort. The group will then travel to Washington, D.C., where Champions traditionally meet with their state senators on Capitol Hill, and the President of the United States during a visit to The White House.