‘Hometown Celebration’ on WDTV stars area children

WVU Children’s Hospital program is live from WVU Erickson Alumni Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Samantha Stalnaker of Nicholas County was three days old when doctors at West Virginia University Children’s Hospital performed surgery to repair an opening in her spine caused by spina bifida. Samantha’s miracle story is one of many that will be featured during the WVU Children’s Hospital “Hometown Celebration” Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 7 to 8 p.m. on WDTV, Channel 5.

The program airs live from the WVU Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, hosted by WDTV news anchors Jeff Bowers and Amanda Pavlik. Members of the Mountaineer football team will also make an appearance during the broadcast.

WVU Pediatric Neurosurgeon John Collins, M.D., performed the surgery in 2003 to close the low-lying opening in Samantha’s spine.  By the time she was 2 years old, she had to have surgery three more times to drain fluid from her brain.

Today, at 5 years old, Samantha is in kindergarten and has undergone a total of six surgeries, but she is on target developmentally.

“She is just a bundle of joy and full of energy and is obviously going to have lots of potential in her life,” Dr. Collins said.

“I think she has the potential to be a great leader,” her father, Sam, added. “A great leader in whatever she would like to do.”

Samantha will be the 2009 Champion Child in West Virginia for the Children’s Miracle Network. Every year, the Children’s Miracle Network selects a Champion Child for each state from nominations received by children’s hospitals across the country.

During the television program Dec. 16, television viewers may call 877-356-7007 to make donations to WVU Children’s Hospital. Cell phone users can text “WVU Kids” to 90999 at anytime to make a $5 donation that will appear on their monthly bills. In addition, donations can be made at the Children’s Hospital Web site at www.wvukids.com.

Donations support WVU Children’s Hospital programs, including newborn and pediatric critical care, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and cancer treatment.

Donations are also used to help purchase specialized medical equipment that is used in the treatment of infants, children and high-risk mothers-to-be who are cared for at WVU Children’s Hospital.

WVU Children’s Hospital provides care in several pediatric specialty areas, including nationally recognized programs for the medical and surgical management of congenital heart disease.

For more information on Children’s Hospital, see www.wvukids.com.


For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 12-12-08

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