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2024 Champion Child

Connor was diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida and hydrocephalus at his routine 18-week ultrasound. Before his birth at OU Children’s Hospital, Connor’s family was connected with the neurosurgery team to learn expectations for his care after birth. He was born at 36 weeks and was immediately taken to the NICU  for ten days. At two days old, he had his first surgery. This was to close the hole on his back to protect his exposed spinal cord. Then, three days later, he had brain surgery to place a shunt to drain the fluid in his brain (hydrocephalus). Connor had multiple brain and spinal cord surgeries in the first few years of his life, including a weeklong PICU stay with three shunt surgeries after he kept falling. 

Just before he turned two, he began having long, life-threatening seizures. The seizures have caused Connor to have speech and cognitive delays. Connor receives OT, PT, and speech therapies to help with his development. Over the last 12 years, Connor has had 26 surgeries. Many of them were on his brain and spinal cord. Connor has paralysis in his lower half and has required multiple orthopedic surgeries in the last few years to correct his scoliosis, hip dysplasia, and some broken bones caused by low bone density. Connor sees many specialists funded by Children’s Health Foundation to manage his needs. 

He loves watching sports, swimming, and watching big sister dance. He enjoys playing adaptive baseball with his hometown, Courage League, and attending Wheelie Club (an all-abilities club of varying activities). He also loves Sonic the Hedgehog, Wild Kratts, bean burritos, queso, and tacos. 


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