Alisha Mueller, pictured with Sanford nurse Fern Haan, will light the tree at the 2019 Christmas at the Castle on Dec. 3.

Meet the 2019 Switch Master: Alisha Mueller

November 20, 2019

Light up the holiday season with Christmas at the Castle presented by Henry Carlson Construction on Dec. 3.

During the event, Alisha Mueller — this year’s official Switch Master — will kick off the holidays by lighting the Christmas tree in front of the Sanford Children’s Hospital.

Not long ago, 12-year-old Alisha was receiving lifesaving care inside the Castle. She was battling a severe infection that turned into septic shock.

“Her lungs, heart and kidneys all failed right in front of us,” said Alisha’s dad, Matt Mueller. “Alisha’s mom and I were both thinking, ‘This is it.’”

Alisha’s caregivers in the pediatric intensive care unit acted quickly, giving Alisha continuous CPR and connecting her to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that circulates blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream.

Their efforts saved Alisha’s life.

“There is no way we can repay what we’ve been given, which is our daughter back through all the efforts of everybody here at the castle,” Matt said.

The fast action at Sanford Children’s helped stabilize Alisha, allowing for her to be transferred to another hospital for more specialized care.

While the trauma left her with long-term kidney damage and ultimately, she lost her right leg from lost blood flow, Alisha beat the odds.

Alisha Mueller with her care team at Sanford Children’s Hospital.

“The way her body has healed to almost a full recovery has been a miracle in itself,” said Alisha’s mom, Rachel Mueller.

Celebrate Alisha, and all the brave kids like her, at this year’s annual tree-lighting event at the Castle of Care. Every dollar raised will benefit Sanford Children’s Miracle Network to help care for kids like Alisha, close to home.


Christmas at the Castle presented by Henry Carlson Construction

  • When: Dec. 3 from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • Where: The front lawn of the Sanford Children’s Castle of Care
  • What to expect: Watch the official lighting of the Christmas tree in front of the Castle of Care, meet princesses and superheroes, indulge at the hot cocoa and snack bars and purchase special ornaments and Sanford Children’s Miracle Network merchandise.