Every year, 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals identify a “Champion” in each of their communities to serve as the face for children treated at their local children’s hospital. These ambassadors spend the year advocating for the charitable need of children’s hospitals across North America.
UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is excited to announce our 2022 CMN Hospitals Champion, Beckett Genuardi! Throughout the year, Beckett will represent UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in campaigns with our corporate partners and community events. The 7-year-old embodies the strength and courage of our pediatric patients while also exuding positivity to everyone that crosses paths with him.
On Christmas Eve in 2014, 2-month-old Beckett began receiving care at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Beckett was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart doesn’t contract normally and, hence, cannot pump blood effectively. Beckett was placed on the Berlin Heart®, an artificial heart device made specifically for babies facing heart failure. Ten days later, the Genuardi family received life-changing news as a heart had become available for transplant.
“I met the entire team that cared for Beckett on Christmas,” said Taylor Genuardi, Beckett’s mother. “They started to plan right away. It just meant the world to me and still does to this day.”
Mark Bleiweis, M.D., Beckett’s heart surgeon and the director of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, was one of several physicians who cared for Beckett and his family. Bleiweis performed the Berlin Heart® procedure and Beckett’s transplant.
F. Jay Fricker, M.D., former division chief of pediatric cardiology, oversaw Beckett’s care post-transplant. For the past two years, Beckett has seen a cardiologist every three months. He also receives intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions every three months, which helps his donor-specific antibodies.
“He’s actually had the greatest transplant journey,” Taylor said. “We are so grateful for UF Health and everything they do. The team is just like family to us.”