Campus News Banner


Richmond Child Serves as Ambassador for UK Children’s Hospital

Contact: Amanda White

Click
Donate to UK Children’s Hospital
to make a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. All funds raised in Kentucky stay in the Commonwealth to benefit the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

""

For Joseph, to be 10 years old is a miracle in itself. When he was born at 34 weeks gestation with Apert Syndrome, doctors told his parents that he would never walk or talk and would not live long. Ten years later, Joseph is a bubbly, vibrant boy who attends public school in a regular classroom, enjoys playing basketball, singing and listening to music, and anything related to World War II.

""

Return to
"Help Make a Miracle"

June 5, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- After a lifetime of battles, Joseph Stephens, now 10, and his parents celebrated his good health this year with a visit to the White House where they shared their story with the world.

Joseph, son of Joni and Pat Stephens, was one of 50 children—one from every state—to participate in a Children's Miracle Network program called Foresters Champions Across America and Canada. Joseph, a fourth-grade student at Kit Carson Elementary School in Richmond, Ky., was treated at University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Selected as Kentucky’s representative in the program, Joseph went to Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla., as an ambassador for 17 million hospitalized children.

Joseph is one of the children who have survived life-threatening illnesses, injuries or birth defects to be recognized as “champions” during the “2003 Children’s Miracle Network Celebration.” The Celebration will be broadcast June 6-8 from Fayette Mall in Lexington on WKYT-TV, channel 27 (Lexington), and WYMT-TV, channel 57 (Hazard). Co-hosts are Barbara Bailey and Bill Bryant of WKYT-TV and Neil Middleton of WYMT-TV.

For Joseph, to be 10 years old is a miracle in itself. When he was born at 34 weeks gestation with Apert Syndrome, doctors told his parents that he would never walk or talk and would not live long. Ten years later, Joseph is a bubbly, vibrant boy who attends public school in a regular classroom, enjoys playing basketball, singing and listening to music, and anything related to World War II.

But, the road for Joseph has not been easy. When Joseph was born, physicians gave Joni and Pat Stephens options – “going at it with all forces” or having the basic minimal care provided. There was no choice for the Stephens – they went for every option available. Once Joseph was transported to the UK Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – all forces focused on saving the boy’s life.

“We really didn't think this baby was going to make it,” said Nirmela S. Desai, M.D., neonatologist at the UK Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine.

Joseph has had quite a battle. He’s had more than 40 surgical procedures to make fingers and toes, to fix two hernias, to make more room in his skull for his brain to grow, and to help with his breathing and kidney problems.

One part of Joseph that needs no operation is his spirit.

“We’re blessed with his being here. He’s completely filled our lives and our family’s lives,” said his mother, Joni. “It’s amazing how he affects people.”

The UK Children’s Hospital is the local beneficiary for the 16th year of the annual Children’s Miracle Network campaign to raise money for 170 children’s hospitals across North America.

All proceeds raised from the broadcast stay in Kentucky to benefit the UK Children’s Hospital, the only participating hospital in the state. In the past 16 years, CMN has raised more than $8.5 million for the UK Children’s Hospital. Last year through CMN, Kentuckians gave $1 million to UK Children’s Hospital.

During the broadcast, the program will feature and celebrate the triumphs of UK’s young patients and the health issues they are facing. The annual program will not only recognize the children as champions, but also the many people who champion children, such as families, health professionals, individuals, volunteers and donors.

The Celebration will be broadcast from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, June 6; from noon
to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 7; and from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 8.

From noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, the public is invited to bring their children to Fayette Mall to participate in the Kid’s Health and Safety Fest, a collection of free fun activities hosted by UK Children’s Hospital.

During televised hours of the Celebration, call (859) 272-2220 or toll-free (800) 474-4132 to make a donation. To make a donation before or after the Celebration is being broadcast, or to receive more information about the Children’s Miracle Network, call (859) 257-1121. Or donate now by clicking here.


Back to Campus News Homepage