When Marina's mom, Nikki, was 19 weeks pregnant, doctors discovered Marina's internal organs were developing outside her body and the chances of her survival were slim, at best.
On May 31, 2007, Marina was born six weeks early and was immediately in danger. The thin membrane protecting most of her liver and intestines tore at birth. Before her mom had even left the delivery room, little Marina was in her first surgery at All Children's... the first of many.
Over the next three years, Marina survived skin grafts, attempts to expand her tummy to accommodate her organs and a battle with pneumonia that almost took her life.
Through it all, the bond with her doctor, pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Gallant, grew and the family's appreciation for his "beyond the call of duty" care, led them to dub him, Marina's "Uncle Michael." As for her nurses in the NICU, Nikki described them as, "the mommies Marina needed, when I couldn't be there."
Though Marina wasn't expected to live, her doctor now anticipates that by the time she's five, she'll be "all fixed" and starting school as a normal little girl with no more worries about her tummy. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, Marina had a final surgery to close the holes in her neck where she had tubes put in; the other night, her mother actually heard her snoring for the first time - a huge accomplishment for this little girl!
Dr. Gallant looks forward to the day when he'll no longer be her doctor, but he'll always be her 'Uncle Michael'. When she visits her nurses from the NICU, they love to watch her sing and dance and are amazed that she can even speak in three languages!
Because she received the best in care and so much love and support, little Marina is doing very well now. And because of the continued generosity of its donor community, All Children's Hospital can provide that care and a platform for Marina to become the joy and blessing she is today.