Earlier this month one of our very own, Laura Skinner (pictured far left) represented the Foundation at the 12th Annual Speedway Miracle Golf Tournament in Dayton, Ohio, along with our local Speedway “Miracle Child” Emma Grace Barnes, a former patient of Levine Children’s. After hitting the greens for several rounds of golf, attendees enjoyed a silent auction and reception, where they had the privilege of meeting 15-year-old Emma Grace and hearing her inspiring story.

Emma Grace’s journey at Levine Children’s Hospital began shortly after her ninth birthday. She developed a sudden severe headache, began vomiting and could not move her neck. After being admitted to Levine Children’s for a spinal tap, tests revealed that Emma Grace had an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in her brain. AVM’s affect less than 1 percent of the population.

After undergoing several surgical procedures, Emma Grace received extensive physical, speech and occupational therapy to regain basic skills like walking, eating with utensils, and tying her shoes. Over time, she regained much of her physical strength and continues to make progress as each day passes, thanks to the world-class care she received at Levine Children’s.

Because of her experience at Levine Children’s, Emma Grace has been passionate about giving back to the hospital and is considering a career in pediatric medicine or nursing. She is currently a member of the hospital’s Teen Advisory Council and is an active member of her school’s HOSA club (Health Occupation Students of America). She volunteers her time with numerous organizations and coordinates a blood drive, where she can give back.

Special thanks go to Zink Foodservice (Anthony International and KPS Global) for sponsoring Emma Grace’s participation in the Speedway Tournament this year, and especially to Speedway for continuing to demonstrate such outstanding philanthropic support for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Levine Children’s! Last year, the Speedway tournament raised $2.5 million. Proceeds from this year’s tournament (to be announced) will be split among the 35 represented CMN Hospitals, of which Levine Children’s is honored to be a part.

Donors may contribute to Children’s Miracle Network all year-long at Speedway convenience stores, right at the register.