Wyatt Smith of Parkersburg to represent state as 2011 Champion Child

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Before he heads to Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla., to represent West Virginia as the 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child, Wyatt Smith of Parkersburg, a patient at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital, will receive the star treatment at a send-off event in his honor.

The event will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 26 at Ace Hardware and Contactor Supply Store #11850 in the Middletown Mall in Fairmont.

In addition, Wyatt is the focus of an upcoming Proctor and Gamble campaign for Ace Hardware stores in West Virginia, and a sneak peek of his photo on a product display will be available at the event.

Wyatt was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 weeks old. His doctors in Parkersburg sent him to WVU Children’s Hospital for the special care kids with the disease need. Now 15, Wyatt spends a good part of his mornings taking medication and treating his cystic fibrosis. After sleeping with a feeding tube all night, he wakes up to take a handful of medication and put on a vest that shakes loose the secretions that build up in his lungs.

“I want people to know cystic fibrosis isn’t a bad disease like everyone thinks it is,” he said. “You can go every day knowing you have it, and you can still live a normal life.”

Next month, Wyatt and his fellow champions will visit the White House and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and will attend the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. For one week, they’ll meet with members of Congress and celebrities, visit the Disney parks and share their stories of medical victory.

Every year, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program identifies a child with a remarkable medical story from each state. These champions serve as ambassadors for the 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals annually.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. Ace Hardware is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals supporter, having raised more than $46 million for the charity since 1991.

WVU Children’s Hospital is the only Children’s Miracle Network hospital in West Virginia. It provides maternal, infant and pediatric care for the entire state and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood.

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 09-21-11