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Show them how to be strongThe 20162017 CMN Champion

Uploaded on May 23, 2018

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Talia Hay’s hair is much shorter than it used to be. The strands of dark curls have regrown, covering her head and the scar that now winds its way from above her left ear up and over to the right side of her forehead. You’d never know it was there or that less than nine months ago, Talia was in a helicopter being rushed to Fargo for an emergency craniotomy. “All I remember is that the doctors said there was a cluster of blood vessels in my brain,” says Talia. “And I could have had them all my life without even knowing, but they just popped.”Talia had an AVM, which is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. And as Talia’s did, these tangles can rupture, causing blood to flow into the brain. “The school nurse called me at work,” remembers Talia’s dad, Alfonzo. “She said Talia was acting out, and I was like, ‘My daughter?’ That’s just not her. So I’m driving to school when I get another phone call saying that she is in and out of consciousness. At this point I start panicking.”First responders took Talia to the hospital in Grand Forks where a CT scan discovered the blood on her brain. She was immediately flown by Sanford AirMed to Sanford Children’s in Fargo.“My wife and I drove to Fargo so Talia got there before we did,” says Alfonzo. “And on the way, the doctors at Sanford called us and said that they needed to do surgery. And we said that was fine. Just do whatever it takes to help our daughter.”Alexander Drofa, MD, endovascular neurosurgeon at the Sanford Brain & Spine Center in Fargo, along with a team of specially trained providers performed the complex and high risk surgery. Talia spent a total of 11 days at Sanford Children’s. Many questions had to be answered about her brain function. Could she still feel her toes? Her fingers? Would there be damage to her speech?Because of Dr. Drofa’s expertise and the advanced tools and equipment at Sanford Children’s, Talia was exactly where she needed to be. The center has a dedicated inpatient neurosciences unit, prepared to handle life-threatening conditions like Talia’s“Those 11 days taught us how to pray,” says Michelle, Talia’s mom. “I’m very big on planning but we had to step back and go hour by hour. And any little breakthrough, her first step, the first time she talked, it was a huge accomplishment.” And because of Talia’s determination to get better, she was chosen as the 2016/2017 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals North Dakota Champion. “She went through a lot and fought through it all,” says Talia’s younger sister Emelia. “I feel like she’s such a good example of staying strong through everything when all she wanted to do was go home. So I think she’ll be a really good champion for other kids to look to.” “The staff at Sanford Children’s was amazing and for them to nominate Talia for this was a real honor,” says Michelle. “And the fact that she can tell her story to kids, show them how to be strong, and maybe that will want them to fight a little harder.”