When she was just hours old, Araina underwent her first surgery.
And that was just the beginning of her journey.
Three days later, Araina had a second major operation to relieve fluid growing in her brain.
That was 16 years ago. Born with Spina Bifida and Arnold-Chiari Malformation Type 2, she underwent another 36 surgeries.
“Each surgery took her two steps back but, with her power and determination, she overcomes all the obstacles that life throws her way,” says her mother, Shannon. “There is no slowing her down or stopping her.”
She’s our Hero.
In her first days, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals was there for Araina and her worried parents. Shannon spent four weeks in the NICU with her newborn daughter and relied on food vouchers for fuel.
It was there as Araina grew, too. When she was 5, CMN gifted her a hand trike.
“CMN gives families relief from the unexpected events that can happen to their child,” Shannon says. “Families need this and to know they are not alone.”
It’s been two years since Araina’s last surgery. Today, she's a high school junior who enjoys studying gemstones and making jewelry. She’s trying things her parents never thought possible — activities such as tennis, basketball, track and weightlifting.
It’s all a testament to the drive of a determined girl. And not just any girl. A real Hero.