Birthday bash benefits UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital

A young boy and young girl stand back-to-back with their arms folded. The boy wears a shirt with dinosaurs while the girl wears a space-themed dress.

Catalina Tish knew exactly what she wanted for her 7th birthday.

She was not thinking about new toys or back-to-school clothes; instead, Catalina wanted to give back. That’s why for her birthday, she asked friends and family to help her fundraise for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

“I was inspired by one of my friend’s birthdays,” said Catalina, who contributed to the UF Health Children’s Hospital pediatric patient care fund. “She was giving to a dog shelter. I decided to donate to the children’s hospital.”

Catalina’s generosity stems from thankfulness. Four years ago, Catalina’s infant brother, Desmond, was in isolation at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. He was 2 weeks old and had devolved staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, a skin disorder that causes the skin to peel, and septic infection.

Catalina (top) and Desmond (bottom) play together as young infants.

Desmond spent several days in the pediatric intensive care unit. He underwent multiple spinal taps and a peripherally inserted central catheter line, a tube that is utilized for medication and nutrition IV treatments.

Desmond and Catalina’s mother, Adrienne, said her son received tremendous care.

“The care we received at Shands was exceptional,” Adrienne said. “The staff worked hard to help us feel comfortable in a very agonizing time in our lives.

“We’re happy to have a happy and healthy child nearly four years later.”

Catalina is just as happy! She loves spending time with her brother. They often snuggle and play with LEGOs.

“He means a lot to me,” said Catalina. “He makes my heart smile.”