Alyssa- Hero of the Month

“Alyssa never ceases to show her strength”

Alyssa was born with neuroblastoma that covered 75 percent of her spine, wrapped around her right lung and compressed her windpipe. The rare, cancerous tumor was removed in an 11-hour surgery when Alyssa was just 3 weeks old. Afterwards, she started chemotherapy to further treat the cancerous cells.

As a result of the tumor compressing her spine and the effects of the surgery, Alyssa is partially paralyzed from the chest down. She also battles multiple other medical conditions such as:

    • Horner’s syndrome- symptoms caused by nerve damage to the spinal cord
    • Scoliosis and kyphosis- curvature of the spine and back
    • Asthma
    • Autonomic dysreflexia- the sudden onset of excessively high blood pressure
    • Neurogenic bladder and bowel- nervous system disorder

To help treat her spinal cord injury, Alyssa receives regular therapies at Shriners Hospitals for Children- Philadelphia, where she has been a patient since she was 6 months old.

Nominated by her team of therapists, 13-year-old Alyssa is “always eager and energetic when she gets to therapy and loves to entertain in any way she can. Alyssa is definitely a Hero around the hospital, saying hi to everyone who walks by and starting friendly conversation. She never ceases to show her strength and prove how much she is improving in therapy. Even though she has been forced out of her comfort zone, Alyssa has taken advantage of the new experiences and has given every activity her best effort. Alyssa is our Hero.”

“Thank you for the Hero of the Month award,” writes Alyssa’s mom. “I can’t tell you how much the award meant to her. We truly appreciate it and Alyssa was so happy and honored to receive it. It made her feel special and appreciated.”

Kids Wish Network is proud to honor Alyssa along with her team of occupational therapists at Shriners- Philadelphia!


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