Media Advisory - Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation introduces new Child Ambassador

    CALGARY, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - Sometimes it takes more than doctors and nurses
to make a medical miracle. Sometimes it takes a superhero.
    Three years ago, Willa Marshall was diagnosed with a rare blood disease
that only two to four children in Canada have, called Sideroblastic Anemia.
    In the past, this diagnosis meant a life of constant blood transfusions
for Willa. Thankfully, specialists at the Alberta Children's Hospital had
another option. Dr. Victor Lewis, a Pediatric Oncologist and bone marrow
transplant expert at the Alberta Children's Hospital offered a bone marrow
transplant as a cure.
    "We've had great success with using bone marrow transplants to cure kids
with cancer," says Dr. Lewis. "Now we're beginning to use them to cure kids
with other types of diseases - like Willa's. It's very exciting."
    In 2007, Willa was among the first in the world to undergo a bone marrow
transplant for her disease. Willa's little brother James was a perfect bone
marrow match, which was vital to the transplant's success. Today Willa is a
healthy and happy little girl who dreams of being a doctor one day so she can
help kids too. Willa adores her little brother who she affectionately calls
"Supes" - short for "Superhero" and will never forget how he helped saved her
    This afternoon, the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation introduced
Willa as its official ambassador, the 2009 Children's Miracle Network Champion
Child - part of the Children's Miracle Network Champions Across Canada Program
Presented by Wal-Mart Canada.
    As a thank you to these kids for inspiring us all, Wal-Mart Canada
sponsors this program, which allows the Champion Children from across Canada
to meet in Ottawa in March. They then join Champions from across North America
at Disney World in Florida!
    "We are delighted that Willa is our official ambassador this year," says
Jonathan Hoehn, President and CEO of the Alberta Children's Hospital
Foundation. "Willa's story is the perfect example of how our specialists'
innovative research is saving and improving the quality of our kids' lives
    Willa is one of 76 thousand children cared for by specialists at the
Alberta Children's Hospital each year.

    The Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation raises funds for excellence in
child health and family centred care. Through the generosity of donors, the
Foundation provides funding for innovative family centred programs, state of
the art equipment, advanced medical training and internationally recognized
pediatric research.

    About Children's Miracle Network

    Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization helping kids by
raising funds for 170 children's hospitals across North America. In Canada,
Children's Miracle Network raises funds for 14 children's hospitals, and has
raised more than $250 million since its inception.

    About Walmart Canada

    Walmart Canada's sponsorship of the Champions Across Canada program is an
expression of its focus on making a difference in the communities its
customers and associates call "home". Walmart Canada operates one of the
country's strongest community involvement programs. Since 1994, Walmart Canada
and its associates have raised and donated more than $50 million to Canadian
community groups and not-for-profit organizations through the Good Works
program, with $26 million of that going to the Children's Miracle Network and
$2 million dollars to the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation.

For further information:

For further information: Justine Clay, Associate Communications Manager,
Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, Tel: (403) 955-8824, E-mail:

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Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation

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