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Meet WVU Medicine Children’s 2019 Champion Child, Ziler Hawkins

When she was 4-months-old, Ziler’s parents, Kim and Keith, noticed that she wasn’t using her right hand as much as her left. Doctors ordered a CT scan that showed Ziler had a cyst in her head that was half the size of her brain. Eventually, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain. At WVU Medicine Children’s, surgeons placed shunts in Ziler’s brain to remove fluid and relieve the pressure on her brain. They failed or became infected multiple times. At 4-years-old, Ziler’s failing shunt was replaced with a new one, which became severely infected a few weeks later. For the next five months, Ziler underwent nine more brain surgeries and barely left WVU Medicine Children’s, spending her birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day in the hospital. To-date, Ziler who is now 7-years-old has undergone 15 brain surgeries. Despite some right-side weakness, Ziler is an outgoing, happy little girl who doesn’t let much get her down. She loves doing crafts, reading, painting fingernails, and telling jokes.  She has had a great time so far, traveling the region, in support of WVU Medicine Children’s and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.