Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Patient Wins State Honor

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Sophia Mercado, an 11-year-old patient at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, recently wrote a book about her medical journey.
Sophia Mercado, an 11-year-old patient at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, recently wrote a book about her medical journey.

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Sophia Mercado, a neurosurgery patient at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, was named the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for New York State.

Mercado, an 11-year-old girl from Walden, N.Y., will serve as an ambassador for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, New York state and all children cared for by the 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America.

Among Sophia’s duties as Champion will be traveling to Washington, D.C. in September, where she and other state Champions will share their amazing stories with national lawmakers and public officials. Sophia also will participate in Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ annual Celebration event at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Mercado has had three successful neurosurgeries at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Her health crisis started October 2011 when she began displaying stroke-like symptoms moments after she stepped off her school bus.

After receiving initial treatment Sophia was rushed to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center where lifesaving neurosurgery was performed to correct a burst arteriovenous malformation – an abnormal tangle of veins and arteries.

Mercado has had two subsequent neurosurgeries, and today she is doing very well and looking forward to entering the fifth grade this fall.

The Champions program brings attention to the important work performed at local children’s hospitals like Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. It honors remarkable children such as Mercado who have triumphed despite significant medical challenges.

In addition to Sophia’s Champions appointment, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital also announced the “publishing” of Sophia first book: How I Became a Champion.

In the book, Sophia discusses her own medical journey with the hope of inspiring other children battling similar medical challenges. Sophia is an avid reader and hopes to pursue a career in writing.

Mercado will sign copies of her book on Friday at 1 p.m. at Westchester Marriott. The book is available in limited quantities and those interested in obtaining a copy can do so by making a request through the Westchester Medical Center “Contact Us” Web page at www.WestchesterMedicalCenter.com/ContactUs

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center has been a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for 11 years. This is the fifth time a child cared for by the hospital was chosen for the Champions program.

“We are thrilled Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals one again chose a patient from our hospital to be the Champions ambassador for all of New York State,” said Michael Gewitz, M.D., Physician-in-Chief, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.

“This honor, along with Sophia’s story of courage and determination, symbolize the exceptional, advanced pediatric care provided by Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and the inspirational spirit of the children we care for each and every day.”

Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Conn.

The hospital is home to the region’s only pediatric intensive care unit and its regional neonatal intensive care unit as well as its only pediatric transplant program, pediatric burn care and trauma services and cardiac catheterization program.

For more information, visit www.westchestermedicalcenter.com/MFCH.

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