Iowa 6-year-old honored as Hero of the Month

Natalie - Mercy Hosp-full name

LAKE MILLS, Iowa (Jan. 29, 2015): Children’s charity Kids Wish Network, along with Mercy Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, is excited to honor Lake Mills 6-year-old Natalie Barker as a Hero of the Month. Natalie was nominated for the award for her continued strength and bravery throughout many medical struggles.

Kids Wish Network’s Hero of the Month program recognizes children between the ages of 3 and 18 who have faced and overcome difficult circumstances, often enduring a great deal of pain and suffering. While they may not suffer from a life-threatening illness, these Heroes have dealt with life-altering situations, demonstrating extreme bravery and courage.

Natalie was born with a ventricular septal heart defect, which creates one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles, and a double-chambered right ventricle. She had her first open heart surgery when she was just 13 months old and required another surgery in November 2014; both to repair her heart.

“Natalie is very outgoing and always has a smile on her face,” says her nominating Child Life Specialist Erin. “She is very mature and always eager to learn about upcoming exams.”

Despite being in a hospital, the staff at Mercy Children’s Hospital can always count on Natalie to be in the playroom doing arts and crafts. She also is very kind and invites other kids to play with her. With her congenital heart defects, Natalie faces more medical struggles in the future, but manages to keep a smile on her face.

Mercy Children’s Hospital is one of hundreds of facilities across the United States that works with Kids Wish Network to honor brave kids. Each facility is able to nominate up to five Heroes per month, and each Hero is recognized with a Kids Wish Network certificate, t-shirt, and gift card. Kids Wish Network honored over 700 Heroes nationwide in 2012/13.

Kids Wish Network is a nationwide charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experience life-altering situations. More than just granting wishes, Kids Wish Network makes a difference through its various programs by delivering hope to kids across the United States. Learn more at

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