At 19 weeks pregnant, Nikki learned that her unborn baby, Marina, had an abdominal wall defect called a giant omphalocele. Although doctors told her to terminate, Nikki was determined to give her daughter a shot at life. She found her way to surgeons at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital where they gave her hope. She was told it would be a long journey, but this wasn't a death sentence. Marina was born premature and lifeless with her liver, stomach, small intestines and spleen born outside of her body in a sac. Teams quickly came to the rescue to save her life. After 10 months in the neonatal intensive care unit, five weeks in a coma, three years on full life support and 25 surgeries, Marina is a healthy and happy 13-year-old.
Today, Nikki and Marina give back by supporting and volunteering for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is the local member hospital, which benefits patients and families. Marina is the 2020-2021 local champion for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and she represents the 16 counties that Johns Hopkins All Children's serves by attending events, such as Dance Marathon, which directly raises money for the organization.
When community supporters buy a Miracle Balloon or round up their purchase at the register at partnering stores like Publix, Walmart, Sam's Club, Ace Hardware, IHOP and Dairy Queen, the contributions directly support patients receiving care at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.