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Van Bernard named IWK Foundation’s 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Champion

Van Bernard, 11, is the IWK Foundation's 2019 Children's Miracle Network Champion Child. Provided/IWK Foundation

A familiar young face in the Maritime region has been named the IWK Foundation’s 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.

Van Bernard, 11, from Hammonds Plains, N.S., will represent children and youth who receive care at the IWK Health Centre. According to the IWK Foundation, he will share his story at fundraising campaigns and events in the Maritimes and the United States.

READ MORE: IWK first hospital in the Maritimes to get Baby-Friendly Initiative designation

Bernard is among the children selected to represent 12 children’s hospital foundations across Canada.

“It means a lot because there’s a whole bunch of representatives from the IWK, and for them to choose me this year to be the champion, it really means a lot,” he told Global News during an announcement at the Walmart in Dartmouth Crossing on Monday morning.

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Bernard was diagnosed with Type-2 spinal muscular atrophy at 10 months old. The condition affects every muscle in his body.

In 2014, Bernard and his family received a new accessible van after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $66,000 to help him out.

WATCH: Crowdfunding helps young boy get a wheelchair accessible van

In 2016, he was one of the first patients in Canada to use a new technology called magnetic controlled growth rods, or MAGEC rods. The IWK is one of only a few hospitals in the country that has the technology.

“Van has become an incredible ambassador for the IWK over the years so we are very excited to name him as this year’s 2019 Champion Child,” said Keely Wallace, manager of community and corporate giving at the IWK Foundation, in a news release.

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“He is wise beyond his years.  And he always steps up to the plate to help us inform and inspire our donors and the greater IWK community about the world-class care the IWK provides to patients and families.”

Bernard and his family are headed to Orlando, Fla., later this month to participate in events at Children’s Hospital Week with other patients from across North America.

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