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Caitlin Wanicheck, 15; Colton Wanicheck, 12; Chelsie Orlowski, 4 of Plover, Wisconsin

When you look at Caitlin, Colton and Chelsie, you see average kids. Caitlin is 15 years old and enjoys hanging out with her friends and shopping. Colton is 12 years old and loves sports and video games. Chelsie is 4 years old and likes playing with Legos and being with her mommy.

What bonds this family even closer together is their extraordinary experiences. Caitlin was born premature at eight weeks early. She spent some time in the Marshfield Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The board-certified neonatologists helped Caitlin develop and grow strong enough to go home. Today Caitlin is a very smart teenager who is learning how to drive.

Colton was born eight weeks early and was in the NICU too. Before he was a year old, he had two visits to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for respiratory distress, respiratory failure and pneumonia. Because of the great care from the experts at Marshfield Children’s Hospital, he got better and was able to go home to his family. But when Colton was eight, his teacher and stepfather noticed he was walking on his tiptoes of his left foot. After a brain scan, his parents learned that he had cerebral palsy. Dr. Jill Meilahn, a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, helped keep him in the game with Botox shots every six months to help decrease the muscle tightness in his leg. Colton wears a brace on his foot, but that doesn’t slow him down when he’s outside playing with friends.

Chelsie is the youngest. She is a strong-willed child and for that, her parents are grateful. At 9 months old, Beth and Chad took her to the doctor who said she had a stomach bug. Each day she was feeling worse with no conclusive diagnosis from tests and X-rays. By the third day, they knew something was seriously wrong with their baby.

Chelsie was air lifted to Marshfield Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. She had intussusception, a condition in which of her intestines slid into the next, like the pieces of a telescope. Dr. Kathleen Dominguez, a former pediatric surgeon with Marshfield Children’s Hospital, removed areas of Chelsie’s intestines that had died. The doctors also found that she had a perforated bowel, which caused more complications. Chelsie had nine surgeries in 16 days, and at one point, she went into cardiac arrest and didn’t have a heart beat for 15 minutes.

Chelsie was in a medically induced coma to help her recover. She spent nine weeks at Marshfield Children’s Hospital being cared for by Dr. Edward Fernandez, a pediatric intensivist and director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. During this time, her mom Beth stayed with her every night, sleeping on a cot next to Chelsie’s bed. Every member of Chelsie’s care team took special interest in her and provided support to her parents and family.

For the first two and a half years, Chelsie had a special tube called a gastrostomy tube inserted in her belly to give Chelsie nutrition directly to her stomach. She also worked with speech therapy, physical therapy and birth-to-three programs to help her stay on track with her development milestones. Now, Chelsie’s pediatrician has given her a clean bill of health and she growing into a sweet little girl.

Caitlin, Colton, Chelsie and their siblings receive this specialized care through Marshfield Children’s - to keep them healthy and keep them with their friends and family where they belong.

For the love of kids.