Ambassador Highlight: Meet Emily and Elie

A hospital stay is not something a family wants to experience—let alone with multiple family members. Emily Chapman, 19, and her sister Elie, 10, were both patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. In 2015, Elie was hospitalized for a fourth time shortly after her sister was discharged after treatment for a serious injury. Now, they are thriving and sharing how Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals made a difference in their recoveries.

Elie and Emily Chapman

When Emily was a senior in high school, she suffered a serious spinal cord injury from a rollercoaster while at Grad Bash at Universal Studios. Her doctors told her family that it was due to repeated rides. She was left temporarily paralyzed from the neck down, unable to walk, write or use basic motor function. After eight days of hospitalization, she had a cervical anterior fusion of cervical spine 4-6.

Ultimately, she regained full function with the help of physicians and care teams UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. She required occupational and physical therapy and was able to walk for graduation. She then continued her rehab at the UF Health Springhill Rehab center that summer in preparation for college in the fall.

In 2013, her younger sister Elie had a scary visit to the emergency room for dehydration, which led to a seizure. Tests revealed Elie needed treatment for glycogen storage disease, a rare childhood disorder that affects the liver’s storage and release of sugar and can lead to seizure or death. Elie drinks a protein supplement three times daily that keeps her healthy and growing. Although she has been hospitalized several times, she has not needed to stay overnight at UF Health Shands in the last two years.

“Elie sees endocrinologists regularly, and she has grown remarkably,” said Lisa, Emily and Elie’s mother.

Now, Emily and Elie are on a mission to share their stories. Emily was able to return to her job at Publix and will mark three years with the company this August. This month, Publix is celebrating 26 years of partnership with CMN through the annual Miracle Balloon campaign.

For Emily, she make sure to tell her customers about what CMN is and how it helps kids by funding research and equipment.

“CMN and Publix really helped me out when I was out of commission,” Emily said.

Lisa said she and her family love to chat with employees. She shares their story so employees know about the kids and families who truly benefit from their efforts.

“We are grateful for the support at Publix, especially from Customer Service Manager, Alana, who has served as a great support system for us,” Lisa said.

“It means a lot to our family that Publix has an annual CMN campaign,” Lisa said. “This shows that they truly do care about their customers.”

The Publix campaign runs through July 1. Stores in the Gainesville, Tallahassee and West Palm Beach areas are supporting UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. For specific questions, reach out to Clare Scheller, CMN development coordinator, at SCHEC@shands.ufl.edu.


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