Proud Patient Champion for the Meaningful Miles Challenge!
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Hometown: Findlay, OH
Age: 8 years old
Diagnosis: Spina Bifida
Elyana’s journey with Nationwide Children’s Hospital started before her adoptive parents physically held her in their arms. John and Cindy Sparks adopted Elyana when she was two years old. They knew she had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida, but they knew very little about the disease until they visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s International Adoption Clinic.
John and Cindy met with a doctor and were explained in detail the possible challenges Elyana could face. They left for China later that year to meet their baby girl for the first time.
When Elyana came home, she was having difficulty learning to walk, so her parents took her to Nationwide Children's Spina Bifida clinic. Elyana received ankle-foot orthosis braces and continued to practice walking. Her mother said, “She would fall, get up, fall, get up.... over and over. She kept practicing and practicing until she was walking.”
A few years later, Elyana began facing challenges with her bowel and bladder control. She was a young kindergartner and her parents knew it was causing her stress and effecting her confidence. They decided to attend the Bowl and Bladder clinic where the nurses and clinicians taught Elyana self-care and began taking all the fear out of the unknowns.
Elyana has had two surgeries and numerous testing and therapies due to her diagnosis of Spina Bifida. After every surgery, she amazes her doctors with her determination and motivation to get better. Elyana has had many challenges in her life, but her resilience and pure happiness for each day are inspiring to everyone around her.
Elyana’s physical therapist, Lisa, is just one of her therapists that has been truly touched by Elyana. Lisa said, “Elyana is one of the most determined and motivated students I have ever worked with. What makes her so special is her joyfulness and fabulous attitude. Elyana makes everyone around her happy. I learned so many life lessons from her and every time I saw her, she made me smile and count my blessings!”
Elyana finds joy in new experiences and learning or reading any book she can get her hands on. She says when she grows up, she wants to be an orthopedic doctor. She loves to be active and swim, hike, sing karaoke, do crafts, and cook/bake. Her favorite place to be is the library because she says she can go anywhere in a book! She has a compassionate heart that encourages other kids with special needs.
Once you meet this little girl – you will understand how special she is. Those who participate in the Meaningful Miles Challenge in 2020, we know Elyana will provide you with the inspiration to keep going.
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