A young girl who has had 23 procedures since the day she was born was honored Friday, when Hasbro Children’s Hospital named her the 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s Champion Child.
Paige Alston, 4, of Coventry, was born with an abdominal wall defect which causes her stomach, intestines and part of her liver to develop in a sac outside of her body. She was also diagnosed with a heart condition soon after she was born.
Alston underwent open-heart surgery and a tracheostomy at just 3 months old. She spent the first 180 days of her life in Hasbro’s pediatric intensive care unit and was on a ventilator once she was finally able to go home.
“During our stay at the hospital, we’ve had conversations that no parent should ever have regarding their child. We’ve been through things and we’ve seen things that no parent should ever have to see with their child,” Clif Alston, Paige’s father, said. “We used to call it the ‘Paige Cha-Cha,’ she would take one step forward followed by two steps back. But Paige never quit. She’s a fighter, she’s the strongest person I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Now in preschool, Paige is healthy, happy and no longer needs a ventilator to breathe. As Hasbro’s pediatric ambassador, she will highlight the hospital’s work, as well as the importance of donating funds for research, treatment and ongoing care.
“This hospital has become a safe place for us, it’s become a home for us,” Clif Alston said. “Every time we drive by the hospital with Paige, without fail, she stops and points and says, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Hospital!”
“Sometimes we can’t tell Paige when we are going to the hospital because she gets too excited,” he added. “Because she says, ‘I’m going to see my friends.’ They’ve all become aunts and uncles to her.”
Clif Alston spoke about Paige’s journey and said they are grateful for everything the hospital staff and those who donated to the hospital have done for them.
“We would not be here if it wasn’t for them,” he said. “We are living proof of what happens with that money. If it wasn’t for that money, this wouldn’t be the hospital that it is and we wouldn’t be the family that we are today.”