The partnership between CHRISTUS Ochsner SWLA and the Children’s Miracle Network is – quite literally – a lifesaver for people across our region.

Children’s Miracle Network

CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Foundation represents the exclusive Children’s Miracle Network hospital in Southwest Louisiana. The Foundation raises CMN dollars to create local miracles by funding advanced pediatric equipment and wellness education programs for the health and well-being of Southwest Louisiana’s children. All local money raised for CMN stays in Southwest Louisiana.


Your investment in the CHRISTUS Ochsner SWLA Foundation is an investment in a healthy future for Southwest Louisiana.

We envision a health care organization that is the first choice for patients in Southwest Louisiana and beyond; that provides opportunities to match generous donors with ideal programs; and that ensures every individual experiences God’s healing presence and love.


Gia on her wheelchair smiling
Gia standing and smiling
Gia smiling



Gia Polito was diagnosed with spina bifida myelomeningocele around 29 weeks in utero. When born she had spina closer surgery within her 36 hours of life. Gia was also born with both hips dislocated, her left leg was hyperextended, both feet clubbed, being monitored for hydrocephalus and neurogenic bladder. During her stay in the NICU (Texas Children’s Hospital a CMN Hospital) she received many tests, evaluations, and physical therapy. Once home from the hospital Gia started her long-term physical therapy workouts and the start to her new life. While traveling back and forth to Houston weekly Gia had to get both legs casted for several weeks to correct her club feet. During this time Gia had to have an Achilles tendinopathy surgery to release her Achilles tendon. Once done with casting Gia was placed in a Rhino hip brace to help correct her hip placement and boot and bar to help keep her feet straight. She had to wear this brace for 23 hours 7 days a week for several months.

Gia entered a regular daycare setting around five months old. By her being around “normal” peers, they pushed Gia to do all the “first” just like them. She learned to sit up, army crawl, crawl, and feed herself. Once it came time to start standing and walking this was a challenge for her because of her case with spina bifida. To help Gia stand up and walk she needed to be fitted for AFO orthotics. Another item that helped Gia get around like her peers was called a Bella Bumba wheelchair. Gia loved this wheelchair because it helped her keep up with her peers and feel like one of them. Once Gia turned one, she had to be catheterized every 4-6 hours to empty her bladder. Since the daycare was not certified to Cath her, they allowed me (mom) to go in and Cath her daily during lunch breaks. And now that Gia is in grade school, she is still being cathed every 4-6 hours and the school nurse takes great care of her during this process. We are hoping within the next couple of years Gia will learn how to Cath herself with little to no assistance. That is one thing about Gia.

She is a fighter. If she wants something she is going to try and do it herself or she will figure out a way to get it done before asking someone for help. She understands that her life is different from her peers, but this does not stop her from getting things done. Gia has been faced with many challenges in such a short time frame, and her determination has not been shattered it just makes her willing to get things done.



Age 3

Jacilynn was born at 34 weeks and spent one week in the NICU. At one month old Jaci had to undergo a stomach surgery for pyloric stenosis at a non-local hospital. Unfortunately, a day after surgery doctors realized that an accidental puncture was made in her stomach and an immediate perforation surgery was required to fix this hole. Jaci’s body began to shut down and she went into septic shock. She was put on the ECMO support for a week. During that week she had continuous seizures, which led to her having a stroke. The stroke led to permanent brain damage to the right side of her brain. She remained in the hospital for 3 months and was released with a NG tube, minimal movement, and weighed no more than a preemie. Whenever Jaci returned home, she started pediatric therapy at the CHRISTUS Ochsner Pediatric Therapy Kids Team. She has continued her weekly visits to Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapy for the past 3 years. Jaci is now able to eat soft foods on her own and jabber a few words such as “Dada and Mama”. Her therapy has helped her gain almost complete head control and very strong core muscles. She’s rolling over, propping herself up on her elbows, and interacting with her toys. Jeni, Jacilynn’s mother says that, “Thanks to CHRISTUS Ochsner Pediatric Therapy Kids Team program, Jaci has begun the process of retraining her brain and muscles which allows her to be able to move her limbs. This is more than I could have ever imagined.”


Aubrei Aubrei was born pre-maturely at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound 6 ounces. As is often the case with preemies, Aubrei began her life with extreme complications faced with the fight of her life. “She was really sick and the doctors and staff did not think that she would live,” said her mother Kyreashai Fuselier.
When the doctors at CHRSITUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital delivered Aubrei, she had a bilateral grade 4 brain bleed, which could cause her to be brain dead, have blood clots that could block the circulation system for the cerebrospinal fluid and a host of other long-term problems such as severe cognitive
delays. She was also having seizures and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for 4 months. Due to Aubrei being placed on a ventilator to help with her breathing, she developed Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia also known as Chronic Lung disease of premature babies. This disease is something that the
doctors will continue to monitor throughout Aubrei’s life to be sure that nothing new develops. After four faith-testing months, Aubrei was sent home with oxygen where she was eventually whined off.
The nurses in the NICU, Angel Goodrich in particular, director of the NICU said, “Aubrei is definitely our miracle baby! She beat all of the odds and we could not have saved her without the lifesaving equipment that CMN has provided for our department.”
Later on Aubrei received physical therapy at the hospital’s Kids Team and to the therapist surprise, they felt that Aubrei did not need the assistance of any kind of therapy. She was beyond advanced for her previous diagnosis.
Now a thriving 4 year old, “Aubrei loves to attend school and enjoys her siblings company,” says her mother.
She is an inspiration to all especially whenever it comes to defying all odds.


Bella - Photo 2 Bella’s parents had struggled with infertility, trying for about 3 years to get pregnant. When they finally did, they were extremely happy, but around 29 weeks of pregnancy, Bella’s mom developed preeclampsia.

The condition can be dangerous for mothers and the baby needed to be delivered in the next 48 hours. Bella arrived weighing just 2 lbs., 2 oz., and her parents were able to hold her for just a few minutes before she was whisked away to the NICU, where she would spend the next several weeks. Thankfully, Bella exceeded everyone’s expectations during her stay. Bella - Photo 3 Even when she was diagnosed with a heart murmur, doctors assured her parents that it was common in premature babies, and that it should close on its own. After six grueling weeks, Bella was released, and a few more weeks after that, the hole in her heart closed. Bella is now three and has never experienced any serious health problems as a result of being born prematurely. In fact, she has not contracted any severe sicknesses at all. Bella is a strong and resilient little girl, and her parents are reminded every day that she is a true miracle.


We underwent several rounds of fertility treatments before successfully conceiving triplets. We lost one baby early in the pregnancy, but the other two did well until about 20 weeks. At that time, one of the babies’ amniotic sacs burst. I spent the next three and a half weeks at CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital in an effort to help the babies go past 24 weeks gestation.

On April 2, at 23 weeks 6 days gestation, Logan was born naturally. Mason was delivered by C-section. Both boys weighed less than a pound and a half.

Together, the boys have been treated for under-developed lungs (requiring breathing assistance), patent ductus arteriosus (a persistent opening between to major blood vessels leading from the heart), retinopathy of prematurity (a potentially blinding eye disorder), a hernia, choanal atresia (a congenital disorder that blocks the back of the nasal passage and leaves only one nostril open for breathing), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Despite all these challenges, our favorite place is the NICU at CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area, and our favorite people are the nurses and doctors there. Their dedication and commitment made a truly life-saving difference for our boys, and we’re forever grateful for them.

Logan and Mason are now 7 years old, and they really are walking miracles! From the day they were born, they have been in more hospitals and doctors’ offices than many of us will ever see. They are happy and smart, and they love each other and their family. Our lives are so full, and we cannot imagine life without them.


When expecting my first child, I began to have severe upper abdominal pain. At 29 weeks and six days gestation, I was diagnosed with a severe form of pre-eclampsia known as HELLP Syndrome, and my doctor recommended an immediate C-section. My son, Drake, weighed just two pounds and 10 ounces. His lungs were not fully developed, so he had to be on what they call a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine – better known as a CPAP machine. He also need oxygen and to use a bilirubin light.



His struggles didn’t end there. Drake’s digestion troubles began after they removed his feeding tube. He regurgitated most of what he ate, which made him fussy, and we tried numerous reflux medications before finding one that lessened his pain. Drake spent 43 days in the NICU, and when he was about 6 months old, things started to calm down.

During that time, I was so impressed by the NICU. The nurses were confident in themselves and in the mothers. I had no idea how much equipment is necessary in this environment, and I’m grateful that our NICU had what we needed to treat my son. Drake is a true miracle, and he’s the strongest person I know!


Avery Avery Rodriguez

Severed Umbilical Cord
Age 1 year, 8 months


Avery was born in an extraordinary birth experience that occurred on route to the Hospital.

With her umbilical cord severed in two places leaving her without oxygen, Avery’s doctors doubted she would ever be able to lead a normal life.

While lasting effects are still unknown, Avery has already surpassed her medical team’s expectations.

Our CMN efforts help to fund the highly specialized equipment needed to treat babies like Avery.