Children's Hospital patients surprised with trip to Super Bowl XLIII

Four Children's Hospital Patients surprised with trip to Super Bowl XLIII

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29 – Four young Steelers fans are getting the opportunity of a lifetime to cheer the Steelers on to an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl victory, courtesy of the UPMC Health Plan and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The four fans – all patients from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC – will travel to Tampa on Friday, each accompanied by a parent, to watch Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals.

"We wanted to do something to help families with sick children share in the joy of this event. Any time the Steelers play in the Super Bowl, it's a special time for families in western Pennsylvania, and we wanted to create a family memory that will last a lifetime," said Diane P. Holder, president of UPMC Health Plan and the UPMC Insurance Services Division.

The four children are:

* Kiyleaha Chatman, 6, of Pittsburgh, who will go with her mother, Monica Cook. Kiyleaha has a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease. Her physician is Dr. Deb Moss, in the Division of General Pediatrics at Children's Hospital.

* Gary Gray, 10, of Derry, Pa., who will travel with his mother, Debbie Gray. In 2008, Gary had emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor, which was performed by Dr. Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children's. He is being treated with radiation therapy by Dr. Regina Jakacki, director of Neuro-Oncology at Children's.

* Colton Myers, 17, of New Castle, Pa., who will be accompanied by his father, Mark Sodersten. Colton received a bone marrow transplant at Children's in 2008. His hematologist/oncologist is Dr. Michael Wollman. Dr. Lakshmanan Krishnamurti oversaw the transplant and is in charge of his care at Children's.

* Shane Smith, 7, of Burgettstown, Pa., who will attend with his father, Chad Smith. Shane had a condition known as dysplastic kidneys and his father donated a kidney to Shane in a surgery performed by Dr. Ronald Shapiro in 2008. Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Michael Moritz, a pediatric nephrologist at Children's, oversee his care. Shane will have the added enjoyment of celebrating his eighth birthday on game day.

"Four of our patients and their parents have this amazing opportunity to cheer in person for the Steelers in the Super Bowl," said Christopher A. Gessner, president, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. "We're thrilled to see them get this chance and we're delighted that we were able to work with the UPMC Health Plan to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience happen. I have every confidence that our patients will be the fans cheering the loudest and longest for the Black and Gold."

The children and their parents will be escorted in Tampa by local STAT MedEvac personnel, and accompanied by a medical team from UPMC Health Plan.

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