Every year, Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals identify a “champion” in their local community to serve as the face for children treated at their local children’s hospital. These ambassadors spend their year advocating for the charitable need of children’s hospitals across the U.S. This year, CHOC is honored to recognize April Arellano as this year’s local CMN Champion.
At 15 months old, April Arellano was brought to her local hospital for a 105-degree fever and was struggling to breathe. Her parents, Shannon and Antonio, had no idea they would soon learn this fever would bring life-long complications for their daughter.
Upon arriving to the hospital, doctors saw April’s difficulty breathing and determined she had pneumonia in her right lung, but they were unable to treat her. Frantic, the family chose to transfer April to CHOC. Her father rode in the ambulance, watching as her skin began to turn purple along the way, her condition becoming worse by the minute.
At CHOC, April received immediate treatment as well as an official diagnosis—septic shock. For children, septic shock is fatal in 98 percent of cases, mostly because many sick children are unable to make it to the hospital in time to get treatment. For April, CHOC was close to home and the specialists diagnosed her quickly and accurately, saving her life.
CHOC doctors also determined April’s blood wasn’t getting the oxygen it needed and put her on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO) in order to support her heart and lungs. April was on this life-saving device for five days, with CHOC clinicians monitoring her around the clock to track her progress.
Further tests showed the septic shock was also affecting April’s muscles, and CHOC recommended her to be transferred to UC Irvine to see a specialist. At UC Irvine, April’s leg was amputated in order to stop further infection. This procedure was harrowing, but April’s life was once again saved. Doctors later determined her septic shock was caused by a primary immune disorder.
Now 9-years-old, April happily navigates the world with a prosthetic leg. She loves to sing, dance and perform in local theater productions. Her parents attribute April’s life to CHOC and the many doctors and nurses who treated April like their own daughter.
Thanks to support from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, April was able to use ECMO to support her heart and lungs. Her parents thanked donors saying, “There’s no way we could afford the medical bills. The fact people donate money for families like us—a thank you doesn’t seem like enough for saving my child’s life.”
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® is a national nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals that provide 32 million medical treatments each year. All funds raised by CMN Hospitals partners stay local and support the most critical needs of each hospital.
CHOC is proud to be a part of CMN Hospitals. Donations through various CMN Hospitals programs, events and campaigns help CHOC offer exceptional care and state-of-the art treatments and technology.