Stella | Pediatric Spina Bifida

Join us in welcoming 2-year-old Stella from Reading into our Children's Miracle Network family, who received treatment at Penn State Health Children's Hospital for several conditions including Spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain.

Stella’s miracle journey began when she was born in 2017. Her mom, Sophie, had a normal pregnancy, but immediately after Stella was born at a hospital in Reading, a nurse spotted a defect on Stella’s back – a symptom of Spina bifida, which occurs when a baby’s spinal cord does not develop or close properly in the womb.

She was transported by Life Lion pediatric ambulance to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for surgery. Soon after she went home, she was readmitted to place a shunt in her brain to drain fluid.

While shunts save lives, they can become infected or clogged, and little Stella has had more than ten surgeries in just her first two years of life. She also needed a laminectomy (spinal surgery) to remove additional fluid and scar tissue.

CMN Hershey has helped Stella throughout her many hospitalizations. Child Life used toys to distract Stella from uncomfortable procedures, and she LOVES facility dog Becky. She has also enjoyed many music therapy sessions and benefited from equipment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In addition, CMN funded the pediatric ambulance that transported Stella and an isolette she needed in the Life Lion helicopter.

Stella is currently a patient at the Penn State Health Children’s Hospital feeding clinic to learn to eat more foods. Funnily enough, her favorite food is meat! She also loves coloring, swimming and doting on her new baby brother, Joey.

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