When Gianna Eusebio was born early at 27 weeks, she weighed just over a pound, was partially blind and experiencing congestive heart failure.
Doctors at the Winnipeg Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were able to save her life and perform a series of surgeries, which required her to spend seven months in the hospital and spend time with a wide range of specialists for the first two years of her life.
Now 11, having bravely overcome all of her medical challenges, Gianna was named the 2019 Champion Child for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.
She’s spent the last year traveling across the country, speaking and representing 130,000 other children in need. She has shared her story at more than 40 events across Manitoba, as well as an event in Florida where she met with other child champions from both the U.S. and Canada.
Through her efforts, $14,000 was raised over 2019, and it will be donated to the NICU – the same unit that saved her life 11 years ago.
“It took a village of doctors and nurses around the clock to help get me better. I was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and graduated to other units after that,” said Gianna.
“I owe my life to the Children’s Hospital and the people that support it. I know I am a miracle.”
The Child Champion program is an annual initiative by hospitals across Canada, in which children are identified in their local communities as ambassadors, advocating for the charitable needs of children’s hospitals and sharing their stories.
Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba president and CEO Stefano Grande said Gianna’s story shows the resilience of children after they receive lifesaving healthcare.
“She has shared her story to ensure other kids like her will always have the services of the Children’s Hospital when they need it,” he said.
“We’re so proud of what she accomplished and thank Gianna and her family for being wonderful ambassadors for our Foundation.”