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Charlie the Champion has proven everyone wrong! Despite all odds, Charlie will turn 1 on Feb 27th, but first he needs another surgery...

"Charlie is the new Owen in PICU". That one sentence told me everything I needed to know. I was sitting on the grass in the park with Owen's Mom, as we had just finished their family photo shoot. I had gone down to San Diego to photograph this very special family prior to Owen's brain surgery. If these 2 boys were best buddies in PICU then I could already feel what Alina's family was experiencing.

Charlie was born on Feb 27th 2013 via EXIT delivery and was attached for 23 minutes while the Dr secured his airway; he had his trach placed when he was delivered. Shortly after birth he had his first major surgery (7 hours) to create an ostomy, gtube, clip off his T E Fistula (his lower half of his esophagus was fused to his stomach). Then in April, he had his tethered cord on his spine repaired; in August his esophagus was connected (nearly 10 hours), in September his Nissen Fundoplication (6 hours) and after being discharged in Oct, Charlie went back in and he ended up getting a shunt placed for his Aquaductal Stenosis. Through out those months he made daily trips to have sedated MRIs and procedures done in the OR. He has an undiagnosed syndrome and has spent most of his life as an inpatient in the hospital.

Charlie has defied the odds! And whereas everyday is a reason to celebrate, Feb 27th is reason for a huge gratitude filled celebration for Charlie and his family - Charlie is turning one! But…first he has another major surgery on February 19th. This one will be to create an opening on his bottom… then in a few months if everything heals well and goes according to plan, he will have his colostomy bag closed up.

These children are most definitely champions. Remarkably resilient and strong individuals who go through way more than should be expected of their little bodies and huge souls. I know I can't do anything to change the medical situation - I leave that to all the capable Dr's - but I can reach out to the families. Whereas each situation may be different, as I know, what bonds us is the emotional part. Feelings of despair... loneliness... isolation… doubt… stigma. We all experience the "what-ifs". We have to make choices with no answers; consent to decisions we don't want…and stay strong. For our children, our family and yes…ourselves. True superheroes!

Let's help make life a little easier for Charlie, his brothers and his parents by joining together to cover expenses and celebrations (all 3 boys have their birthdays coming up!!)

We receive hope and strength from other's who have gone through similar experiences, and we keep our faith through the love and support of both family and friends, and strangers. Life happens - choose 2bepositive™ is a growing community focusing on sharing, caring, helping, healing… it is about accepting that Life happens and we do have a choice. Since we cannot go back in time and change the past, we can make a choice to change the future by having a positive attitude and by appreciating what we do have. My wish always is to bring a little happiness to other people’s lives who are  going through a difficult time. If you would like to share your story / want to help someone or need a place to stop by for support or inspiration…we would like to hear from you.

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