In October 2018, 5-year-old Charleigh was placed into emergency foster care and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo. Based on the severity of her condition, doctors gave her less than 12 hours to live.
Thanks to lifesaving equipment and expert medical care made possible thanks to philanthropy, Charleigh survived. She was eventually diagnosed with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare immune deficiency disorder that, if left untreated, can be fatal.
Over the next two months, Charleigh remained in the hospital, where our staff became the family she needed while receiving treatment for HLH, including chemotherapy, as well as support for behavioral health needs and other physical challenges.
“The doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s surrounded Charleigh with love, patience and care — they became her family,” says Hillery Mork, Lead Development Officer in Fargo at the Sanford Health Foundation.
During her time with us, Charleigh’s health improved and she grew stronger and more vibrant each day. Thanks to support from our Child Life Specialist team and the on-site hospital teacher — two initiatives supported entirely through donations — she was even named “Student of the Month” in her kindergarten class.
That December, Charleigh said she experienced true joy when, she explained, “Santa found her for the very first time.”
Today, Charleigh is thriving thanks to her loving adoptive parents and ongoing treatment from Sanford Health. And even though she’s healthy, the life-changing love and care she received during her stay at Children’s is never far from her mind. At one point, she even asked to donate her Christmas gifts to the kids at Sanford Children’s in Fargo.
Charleigh and her parents continue to feel grateful for the expert and compassionate care she received close to home — made possible thanks to our growing community of donors — and for the opportunity to serve as the 2024 Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Champion for Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo.
“Charleigh is an inspiration to everyone who is lucky enough to know her. That’s because, even though she’s been through so much in her young life, she is absolutely focused on helping others — which is what makes her the perfect choice to serve as our 2024 CMN Champion. We’re so grateful to Charleigh and her family for their willingness to share their story,” Mork said. “Charleigh’s journey is a testament to the hope, health and healing that happens every day inside Sanford Children’s thanks to the work of our amazing doctors, nurses and staff — work that is fueled by philanthropy.”
You Can Make a Difference for Kids Like Charleigh
With your support, we can continue to fuel health, healing and hope for kids each year at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, the state’s only CMN Hospitals partner. Please give for good today and be a part of more kids’ stories. 100% of every dollar can make a world of difference, close to home, for every child who needs us.Give Today