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Renown Children's Hospital Announces 2021 Children's Miracle Network Champion Child Ambassador

February 11, 2021

emmalee sutton

Despite numerous medical challenges, Emmalee Sutton is a determined, bright and outgoing 14-year-old with a joy for life and passion for helping others.

Renown Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) are excited to announce Emmalee Sutton as the 2021 Champion Child Ambassador. A fighter from a very young age, 14-year-old Emmalee has been a source of hope and inspiration to everyone she meets, never letting her medical challenges slow her down. 

A video introducing Emmalee and her journey can be found here

Emmalee was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis at age 2, and she has endured a long road of illnesses and hospitalizations since. She also has Addison’s disease, which means her body under-produces critical hormones. She had her gallbladder removed at age 8, port surgery at 13, and has received several liver biopsies over the years. 

Over time, heavy steroid use has stunted her growth — at 14 years old, she is 49 inches tall. It has also caused extreme weight gains and losses. She also faces daily issues with her calcium, potassium and sodium levels. Due to her lack of immunities, she is unable to attend school in-person but is on the home/hospital program through the Washoe County School District.

Despite Emmalee’s medical challenges, her sheer joy and spark for life remains untouched. 

“I am so honored to be chosen as the 2021 Champion Child Ambassador and represent all the kids at Renown Children’s Hospital. I hope my story can inspire other young patients to believe in themselves,” said Emmalee. “It can be hard dealing with health challenges, but I always think about those who have it worse than me. Instead of complaining about the things I can’t do, I celebrate all the things I can do.”

“We can all learn from Emmalee’s enthusiasm, determination and positive outlook,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown. “She has never met an obstacle too great or faced a challenge too difficult, and she effortlessly inspires others to view life through that same lens. Emmalee has already touched so many hearts here at Renown, and as our 2021 Champion Child Ambassador, her impact is sure to be incredible.” 

Emmalee loves to talk to and help other children, especially when she visits Renown Children’s Hospital for treatments. One of her favorite things to do in the hospital is visit with other patients and try to make them feel better. 

“Emmalee is very patient with all the doctors she sees, the medications she takes and the frequent lab testing and blood draws she receives,” said her mom, Ann Sutton. “She always remains positive and comforts those who think they are hurting her. This makes her quite the beloved patient at Renown Children’s Hospital!”

Emmalee enjoys spending time with her four dogs and rabbit, and she also has an affinity for frogs, lizards and fish. She loves to sew and crochet, and for the past six years, she has held the title of top cookie-seller in her Girl Scout troop. When Emmalee grows up, she wants to be a pediatric nurse so she can help other kids who are going through what she has experienced. Her ultimate goal in life is to make the world a better place in many ways. 

“From the moment I met Emmalee, I knew she was a champion,” said Kiemmy Thai, MBA, Foundation Manager of Children's Hospital at Renown. “Her courage and perseverance inspire so many pediatric patients with hope when they need it most. Her smile is contagious, and her words of wisdom at such a young age will have a great impact on our community. We are excited to work with Emmalee and help bring out the champion in others.”

Emmalee will serve as Renown Children’s Hospital’s CMNH Champion Child for the next two years, acting as the face of the hospital in the community and sharing her heartwarming and inspiring story.

Supporting Champions Like Emmalee

Funds from the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals’ have helped purchase equipment for several of the subspecialists Emmalee needs to see. Additionally, Emmalee has benefited from equipment that CMNH has funded during her in-patient stays, such as distraction machines, iPads and CinemaVision goggles. You can support local champion children like Emmalee by visiting renown.childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org.


About Renown Children’s Hospital

Renown Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated children’s hospital in northern Nevada, and offers a variety of programs and services designed specifically to care for the community's families. It has the region’s only Children’s ER and Pediatric ICU. Renown Children’s Hospital is the only hospital affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) in the region and local CMN Hospitals' programs and events directly benefit children in the Truckee Meadows. It is also the only hospital in the region affiliated with CHA (Children’s Hospital Association). For more information, visit here.

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $7 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity's Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit's mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children's hospitals need community support, and learn about your member hospital, at CMNHospitals.org and facebook.com/CMNHospital.


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