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Cute shoes and her children’s hospital are among the many things that make 8-year-old Deonc smile. Born with a rare genetic disorder, this fashionista has spent much of her life at Texas Children’s Hospital. Deonc has Jarcho-Levin syndrome — so rare there have been fewer than 120 cases reported since 1938. Most children with this condition never make it past their second birthday because their chest cavity is too small to accommodate their growing lungs.

Despite her challenges, Deonc still smiles when walks through her children’s hospital’s doors. There, experts help her defy the odds of her disease, paving the way for other children born with this syndrome. As a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, it’s also where donations supported her family when they needed it most, covering her medical expenses when her father lost his job, and with it, the family’s health insurance coverage.

Delta is a proud partner of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and helps kids like Deonc every day by helping to raise funds and awareness for its 170 children’s hospitals nationwide. Since 1989, Delta has raised more than $5 million to provide critical treatments, equipment and more to the hospitals, who so heavily rely on donations.

Through this partnership, Delta also supports the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions program. Every year, a pediatric patient from each state serves as an ambassador for children’s hospitals, representing the more than 10 million kids treated every year at member hospitals.

And it’s Delta employees who will help transport the Champions from their home to the nation’s capital to highlight the great work and tremendous needs of children’s hospitals.

This week, the Champions and their families are embarking on an Ambassador Tour in Washington, D.C., where they will share their inspiring stories and advocate on behalf of children’s hospitals to legislators, news media and at special events throughout the nation’s capital. Each Champion has personally benefitted from donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and illustrates how vital community support is to children’s hospitals across the country. Upon arrival, Delta employees will deck the gatehouse with decorations and welcome the Champions and their loved ones with cheers, hugs and words of encouragement.  

Delta has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals for the past several years, sponsoring the organization for the Champion’s Weekend program. In addition to cash sponsorship, the airline supports the non-profit by offering charter flights and tickets for the Champions and their families, hosting golf tournaments and allowing customers to donate SkyMiles to Children’s Miracle Network through SkyWish. In partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the airline also hosts a “flight” to the North Pole each December for children battling childhood cancer and blood disorders.

To learn more about each Champion, visit the Children’s Miracle Network website or follow the Champions’ journey using the hashtag #ChampionsForKids.