Sunday, May 19, 2024

Meet the CHEO Champion honoured with a trip to Disney World and a shopping spree

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The latest CHEO Champion has been crowned.

17-year old Fatima Diallo will represent the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) patients in the community as well as at Children’s Hospital Week in Florida in April.

“I think it’s really important to share our stories. I like educating people about matters such as sickle cell disease and CHEO,” Diallo told CTV News Ottawa.

At a young age, Diallo was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Since she was nine, she has been receiving care at CHEO and a few years ago, received a bone marrow transplant from her sister.

Despite some complications and struggles, she is now pain free.

“It’s really important to have someone out there to speak out for all the kids, because I know not every kid has a voice and I’m really honored to be that voice for everyone also,” Diallo said.

CHEO foundation president and CHEO Steve Read says Diallo will be an excellent ambassador for the children’s hospital.

“Fatima is a wonderful young lady and we’ve had a chance to get to know her a little bit. And she represents an awful lot of kids that come through our doors. She is very well-spoken, very articulate, and very grateful for the time that they spent at CHEO,” Read said.

As part of her recognition, she received a surprise $500 spending spree from Wal-Mart Canada.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like a shopping spree and I didn’t really know what I wanted. So I tried to be practical with it and not spend all my money in one day,” she said.

Representatives from Wal-Mart also created Taylor Swift themed friendship bracelets for Diallo – to recognize the teen’s favourite pop star.

“It’s about making those connections with the children so they know that we’re here to support them as well. And we wish them nothing but the best for their futures,” said Trevor Edwards, manager of the Wal-Mart location on Baseline Road.

As for her trip to Disney World, Diallo hopes to overcome her fear of rollercoasters, but does have a favourite ride in mind – Space Mountain.

“I always feel so great whenever I’m surrounded by the CHEO Foundation. They just make me feel like such a winner. And I love representing all the kids at CHEO, and I’m just so grateful to have this honor,” Diallo said.

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