Children's Miracle NetworkSt. Louis Children's Hospital is proud to be a Children's Miracle Network affiliated hospital. 

Every dollar raised by Children's Miracle Network (CMN) of Greater St. Louis, through the generous contributions and support of individuals, as well as local and national sponsors, helps Children's Hospital acquire programs, equipment and facility renovations to meet the needs of area kids.

Since its inception in St. Louis in 1988, CMN has donated more than $50 million to St. Louis Children's Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.

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Read more about our 2024 CMN Patient Ambassadors below!

Meet Liljana

Liljana is a spunky tween who loves crocheting, painting and playing Minecraft with her twin brother. She also enjoys playing her beloved cello, which she has been told she is a natural talent by her university instructor. However, Liljana hasn't always had the energy to enjoy all these activities. Since the age of 2, her health has been a rollercoaster of allergies, asthma and colds that would quickly escalate to bronchitis or pneumonia. After repeated illnesses and hospital stays, Liljana and her family embarked on what would become a long and complicated medical journey.Liljana

Liljana faced chronic lung, ear and sinus infections for many years. It was during this time that Liljana's family started a journey to understand a rare genetic condition known as primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and the role it played in her health. PCD prevents your body from clearing out germs, so her family's main priority was keeping her healthy and following therapy plans to help her airway and sinuses remain clear.

At some point she contracted a stomach bug and became extremely dehydrated. Liljana became so sick that she had to be transported to St. Louis Children's via the Mobile Intensive Care Unit from her community hospital. When the same thing happened a few months later, her family became increasingly concerned with how her illnesses would quickly become severe. Despite their best efforts, both Liljana and her twin brother, Roman, got COVID-19 in 2022 at 9 years old. The same day that she tested positive, Liljana's fever skyrocketed to a life-threatening 106 degrees, and she became very lethargic. Her mom, Michelle, took her immediately to the St. Louis Children's Emergency Department (ED). She managed to walk into the ED on her own, but within a few hours became unresponsive and had to be put on a ventilator. She was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for almost a week. Liljana's care team assumed her symptoms were a severe reaction to COVID-19. Surprisingly, a few weeks later, the unimaginable happened — her symptoms returned and Liljana was once again hospitalized, but this time there was not a COVID-19 diagnosis. Liljana was so sick by the time she arrived at St. Louis Children's she was unable to walk into the ED and was rushed to the PICU. The team was determined to discover why this was happening again. After nearly two weeks in the hospital, Liljana was diagnosed with another rare condition known as adrenal insufficiency (AI), which is an uncommon illness that occurs when the body doesn't make enough chemicals such as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol. There is no cure, but it is manageable with medication.

Liljana recently had another alarming adrenal crisis, but the action plan created by her endocrinologists and STARS (Special Needs Tracking and Awareness Response System) helped her mother and first responders provide prompt critical care until she arrived at the St. Louis Children's ED. Fortunately, she avoided the PICU and recovered with a brief hospital stay. STARS is a one-of-a-kind program developed and maintained by multiple pediatric hospitals and used by many emergency and EMS agencies and allows medical professionals to access important patient information and care instructions before they even arrive at the patient's side.

Liljana's family is thankful to have a team capable of managing her rare conditions so she can thrive. Since her diagnosis and treatment, Liljana has grown several inches and clothing sizes, a sign she is on the right track. Because of Liljana's persistent hospital stays, Child Life Services was a critical resource for her family. Liljana's mom is also grateful for the teachers in the School Program and the help they provided during her sudden absences from school and advocating on Liljana's behalf with administrators. Her twin, Roman, who was also cared for emotionally by Child Life Services due to the trauma of Liljana's illness, is thankful to have his sister healthy.

How CMN Funds Help Liljana and Kids Like Her:
Because of support from CMN, kids like Liljana have access to donor-funded programs like Child Life Services and Transport Services. These programs are critical not only for the children facing a life-threatening illness or injury but also for the support and care they provide to patient families. The Child Life Department supported Liljana by using play, music, art, recreation and education techniques. They also helped Michelle and Roman by showing them ways to cope and lessen their own stress and anxiety while observing Liljana's care team discover answers and treatments for her illnesses.

Meet Baby Ray

When Baby Ray's mom, Robin, went into labor a little over halfway through her pregnancy, doctors told her it would be a miracle if her baby survived. When her own health took a turn for the worse during delivery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital she was placed in a medically induced coma and did not meet her son until he was 3 days old. Baby Ray was transferred to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children's, just a short skyway walk from the labor and delivery unit. He was so small he could fit in the palm of her hand and it was clear the situation was extremely serious.Baby Ray

Every NICU journey is unique, but the family-centered design enables St. Louis Children's to care for around 1,500 infants each year. Baby Ray endured his first surgical procedure at only 9 days old. He continued to require intense medical care in the days and months that followed including heart surgery, eye surgery, lung procedures and intervention to correct gastrointestinal issues due to his premature birth. Baby Ray was on oxygen for more than three years and he battled issues such as floppy airway and lacking a coughing mechanism that allowed him to eat properly. It was during this time that he suffered two brain bleeds, which continue to affect both his speech and motor skills today.

Baby Ray has proven since a young age he has a strong fighting spirit and it's still a big part of his personality. With current diagnoses that include cerebral palsy, autism, chronic lung disease, sensory processing disorder and ADHD, he continues to beat the odds that are against him. Robin says she was told Baby Ray would never be able to walk or talk, and now he is an energetic boy doing both of those things. When he couldn't verbally communicate by age 3, his care team at St. Louis Children's arranged for him to receive a communication device. It helped with his development, and Baby Ray's first words followed a short time later when he told his older sister that he loved her.

Now 8 years old, Baby Ray is a passionate enthusiast of Disney movies, singing, dancing and spending time at church. According to his mom, he continues to meet milestones on his own timeline. He attends the Cerebral Palsy Center at St. Louis Children's regularly and receives weekly therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and behavioral therapy.

Robin says she is grateful for not only Baby Ray's medical care, but also the support provided to her family during those first weeks and months. Robin lost her job shortly after Baby Ray's birth and the Center for Families provided resources for her to update her resume and search for jobs, as well as apply for Medicaid since she was concerned about Baby Ray's medical coverage. The Family Care Fund relieved stress and provided "breathing room" with meals and transportation help for Robin while she was also raising her 16-year-old daughter. Robin says she doesn't know where their family would be today without the care and compassion of the team at St. Louis Children's.

How CMN Funds Help Baby Ray and Kids Like Him:
Navigating a preemie's healthcare journey is already challenging and traumatic, let alone when it is coupled with the loss of income and stability. St. Louis Children's Center for Families and Child Life Department provided support to Baby Ray and his family in more ways than just medical care. Baby Ray continues to attend music and movement class through the Cerebral Palsy Center and recently participated in a dance recital, with a Disney theme of course.