Champion Checkup with Colton - Cincinnati Children's
Saniya is the 2023 Champion Checkup!

Thank you for being a loyal donor!
Throughout the year, you’ll get special updates from me, Saniya, so you can see how friends like you are helping to advance research and improve care here at Cincinnati Children’s.

Hi, I’m Saniya. 😊 My good buddy Colton introduced me in his final Champion Checkup of 2022. Now it’s 2023, and it’s my turn to share the latest and greatest things happening at Cincinnati Children’s!

But first, it wouldn’t be a Champion Checkup without getting to know a little bit about me!

I’m 8 years old—and I’ll turn 9 in July. A few of my favorite things to do are hip-hop dance class, playing sports and having fun adventures with my family. Like going to Kings Island!

Starting from the left is Satiana (my sister), Kenyon (my dad), Rogelle (my mom) and Samira (my next oldest sister). And then there’s me in the center—with the biggest bag of cotton candy I’ve ever seen!

I first came to Cincinnati Children’s because I was born with something called sickle cell disease. It makes my red blood cells a different shape, like crescent moons. This can affect how they travel through my body. Sometimes they clump up and get stuck, which makes it hard for my body to get air. And sometimes I have to go to the hospital because I get sick or have painful episodes called “crises.”

There is no cure for my disorder but, luckily, my friends at the hospital take great care of me. They come to check on me lots, and they talk to me and my family about what’s going on, so I don’t have to feel scared. The three words I would use to describe my care team are:

  1. Helpful
  2. Amazing
  3. Loving

Speaking of loving, it’s almost Valentine’s Day! The awesome people at Cincinnati Children’s always try to make sure kids in the hospital get valentines! And thanks to cool people like you who fill out a form online to send a card (Hint! Hint!), each and every kid will know that they are so, SO, loved.

Wanna send a cute card like this? I’ll bet you do! Just click here.

Love you with all of my art valentine's day card

Until our next Champion Checkup!


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Saniya here, with your next Champion Checkup!

I’m so excited that it’s finally Cincinnati Walks for Kids season! And guess what—we’re going to Coney Island!

My family walks every year and it’s seriously the MOST FUN. After the walk, they’ll have games, inflatables, face painting, food trucks and more! But it also does a lot of good for kids like me.

Saniya's family at walk

I have sickle cell disease, and it’s the opposite of fun. I had to go to the hospital so many times when I had pain crises, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to get my blood drawn—it feels like THOUSANDS!

But guess what? Money raised from Cincinnati Walks for Kids helped my superstar care team and the awesome researchers at Cincinnati Children’s discover a drug that MADE MY PAIN GO AWAY! I’m not kidding—now I only go to the hospital for check-ups each year.

I guess that makes friends like you a part of my care team too—THANK YOU!

Can I—and all the other kids at Cincinnati Children’s—count on you to join us at the walk this year? Check out my video and let’s do some good together!

Watch Saniya's video

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Cincinnati Walks for Kids Details

Saturday, April 22, 2023
9:00 AM (Registration opens at 7:30 AM)
$25 for walkers 13 and older // $5 for kids 12 and under

Register to Walk

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I hope to see you there! It’s going to be a BLAST.

Bye for now!


Hi everyone! It’s me, Saniya, here to make a big splash with your next Champion Checkup. 👋

I hope you’re having an amazing summer! I know I am.

Did you hear? Our very own Cincinnati Children’s, is ranked No. 1 in the entire nation by U.S. News & World Report! Honestly, I’m not surprised, my doctors and everybody I see are the best. And they're one of the reasons I can have such a fun summer.

You see, summertime isn’t always the easiest for kids like me who struggle with Sickle Cell Disease. Growing up I often had what my mom and doctors call a sickle cell crisis, which meant lots of time in the hospital when I was a little kid.


But thanks to the Sickle Cell researchers at Cincinnati Children’s for their work and giving me a medicine I can take at home, I only have to go to the hospital for check-ups. It works! 

I sometimes forget I have Sickle Cell Disease, because my mom, dad and doctors are always taking such good care of me.

I get to have a blast all summer long because of donors like you

The super cool researchers at Cincinnati Children’s are still studying how to make kids like me even healthier.

Saniya at the pool with sisters

Whenever I go inside after a fun day in the sun, I get really cold, so I have to bring a jacket everywhere I go. And when I go swimming, the water has to be kind of warm—jumping in cold water is not good for me. But I still like to do a cannonball whenever I can!

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I got to swim, play and go on a cruise with my family!

Wishing you all a wonderful season in the sun, like mine!

Bye for now!

Hi friends! Have you heard about our super exciting signature event and concert—Kaleidoscope?

My mom and dad took me and my sisters to it last year and it was a very MAGICAL show. Andy Grammer performed, and I got to dance and sing along with his music! 

Saniya polaroid at Kaleidoscope 2022

I had an AMAZING time with my big sisters by my side. And I can’t wait to do it again this year at the beautiful Aronoff Center for the Arts with Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer, Kristin Chenoweth! Or as some people know her—Glinda the Good Witch from Wicked where she sings "Popular"!

Do you want to know something even more amazing? The concert is a fundraiser and by attending we can help Cincinnati Children’s grow mental health services and improve the lives of more children, teens and families. 

I hope to see you there on Saturday, October 7—I'll be showing off my dance moves! 

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Saturday, October 7, 2023
8:30 pm

Buy Tickets button

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You really don't want to miss it!

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Hi everyone! 

Saniya here with my final Champion Checkup.

I’ve had the best time sharing my story with all of you and can’t wait for you to meet our new Champion, my good friend Nora! Watch this video to learn a little more about her and her family. 

Saniya and Nora Thankview video

And don’t forget to give between now and November 28th for Giving Tuesday! Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000* thanks to our friends at Valvoline Instant Oil Change!!

I wish you all the best Nora, and hope you have as much fun as I did!

Bye for now! ✌️

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*Only gifts to the #GivingTuesday campaign will apply to the matching gift opportunity. Gifts will be matched on a first come, first-served basis until gifts received reach $15,000. Matching funds will support the sponsor's designation at the medical center.

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Check out the 2022 Champion Checkups from Colton!

Photo of Colton in Bengals jersey

Hi friends! My name is Colton, and I’m SUPER excited to bring you Champion Checkups in 2022!

I’ve heard lots about you from my friend, Anna Grace, and how you do SO MUCH to help kids like me who receive care at Cincinnati Children’s. She did Champion Checkups last year, and now it’s my turn!

I can tell you a whole lot about how great the hospital is and how my care team helps me do the things I love to do—that’s because I’ve earned my “frequent flyer card.” (That just means I’ve been to the hospital for lots of visits.)

Wanna know a fun fact about me? At just 12 years old, I’ve had over 220 visits to Cincinnati Children’s! See what I mean by frequent flyer?

My journey here started when I was just a baby. When I wasn’t meeting milestones like rolling over or sitting up, my mom and dad were worried—so they turned to Cincinnati Children’s for answers.

Fortunately, the expert docs here were able to slowly but surely unravel the mystery of my multiple rare and complex conditions, which include a nervous system disorder called hypomyelination (it’s a mouthful, I know!) and cerebral palsy.

To help with my mobility and speech, I have visited both Occupational and Physical Therapy (OT/PT) and the Perlman Center, which are awesome places at the medical center where people know exactly how to help me. I work really hard during my physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions.

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I also had a special leg surgery last September that was so successful, now I can walk for 15 minutes with help from my leg braces and walker! (Before surgery, I could only walk for 60 seconds, can you believe it?)

So that’s just a little bit about my journey at Cincinnati Children’s and how they help kids reach their full potential. There’s a lot more to me though, like how I’m the biggest Bengals fan you’ll ever meet, and I’m one heck of a good singer (I’ve even been in a few shows!).

I’ll share more about that in future Champion Checkups! For now, I want to say thanks for your support. Because of friends like you, my care team is able to help me accomplish anything I set my mind to. So, keep up the great work!

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Hi Friends!

So happy to “see” you again for another Champion Checkup! Spring is right around the corner, and there’s a ton of exciting stuff going on at Cincinnati Children’s.

If you’re super cool (like me 😀), I bet you’ve heard that Cincinnati Walks for Kids is back—and in person!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 14. Whether you decide to join us in person or as a virtual walker—YOU can make a really big difference for the kids and families who count on the medical center.

And this year, there’s gonna be a BIG SURPRISE when registration opens—so watch for an exciting announcement in early April!

In OTHER news…You’ll never believe it, but since the last time we talked, one of my biggest dreams has come true.


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Watch my video

You read that right. Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts and their owner Jim Irsay, along with the amazing folks at Cincinnati Children’s, I was given the surprise of a lifetime.

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One thing I’ve learned during my journey at Cincinnati Children’s: We can do anything we want if we set our minds to it. We’ll get ‘em next year! 

Who Dey!

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It's time for another Champion Checkup—and I have some GREAT news to share! Cincinnati Walks for Kids is almost here! On Saturday, May 14, I'll be lacing up my sneakers and joining my awesome friends and family for the medical center's largest community fundraiser of the year.

You'll get all kinds of cool swag just for signing up—like this year's official walk t-shirt and a free pass to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

But wait—there's WAY more! By registering for the walk, you'll be making BIG strides toward helping kids like me, who rely on the very best care from some of the coolest cats around. Well, they're actually doctors, nurses, researchers and staff but they are definitely the COOLEST! (I just can't wait to see the big cats at the Zoo,
ya know?)

And this year, you can join us in person for fun and activities or be a virtual walker.

It’s YOUR walk, YOUR way.

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I can’t express just how much fun I’ve had taking part in the walk. But for me, it’s more than fun. I love that I’m helping other kids who receive care here, just like I do. Over the years, I’ve visited occupational and physical therapists to help with my mobility and speech. And last September, I had leg surgery that was so successful, I can now walk for 15 minutes with help from my leg braces and walker!

But of course, the route for the walk will be stroller and wheelchair friendly, so all of our friends can join in the fun! Whichever path you stroll, we’re all working together to create a healthier future for kids.

Here’s to celebrating friends like you, who help kids like me!

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Hi Friends!

Colton here, with another exciting Champion Checkup
I hope you’re having an amazing summer. I know I am! I’ve been having a wonderful time doing lots of fun things with my family.

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Colton at Norris Lake v2

And you remember how much I LOVE football, right? Well this summer, my awesome family took me to Canton, Ohio to visit the Football Hall of Fame and watch the United States Football League championship game!

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I've gotta go back to school!

Even though summer is a blast, there are always exciting things to look forward to at the start of a new school year. I love seeing my friends every day and doing other fun activities, like singing in school plays. I can’t wait to start 7th grade!

Fun Fact: My favorite subject is Social Studies!

Speaking of history, the medical center has a history of healing and helping kids like me for more than 130 years—that’s a lot of years!

Cincinnati Children’s actually started all the way back in 1883 in a small three-bedroom house in Walnut Hills. It grew to become the super awesome place it is today, and now it’s big enough to help so many kids—kids from Cincinnati, across the country and even all around the world!

That’s right! Fantastic friends, like YOU, gave their time and money to help start Cincinnati Children’s. And today, our friends are still giving to improve care.

I can’t thank you enough—and I know other kids like me are just as grateful.

Thanks for attending my mini-history lesson on Cincinnati Children’s. Stay safe, and I’ll see you in the next Champion Checkup!

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Hi Friends!

Colton Here - Oct
Colton BengalsOctober is such an exciting month. I’m having so much fun getting into fall. I mean, we have spooky stuff, bright crunchy leaves and, of course, FOOTBALL!

Hey, our Bengals may have had a rough start, but I would tell the team to keep up the good work and keep a positive attitude—and keep the faith! Who Dey!

And for my friends at Cincinnati Children’s, this was a HUGE month! My mom and dad took me to an AMAZING concert, where I got to enjoy some awesome and inspirational tunes from multi-platinum artist Andy Grammer.

Colton at Kaleidoscope

I’m a big fan of music—and I especially love to sing along! But this concert—called Kaleidoscope—really meant something special. All proceeds from the night went toward Cincinnati Children’s mental health treatment and prevention programs to help kids who are struggling.

I was thrilled to see so many friends at the concert supporting the wonderful work being done at the medical center. It just proves that when we all come together, we create a beautiful Kaleidoscope!

I'll see you in the next Champion Checkup in December. By then, I'll be a teenager! Can you believe I turn 13 on November 21?!

In the meantime, I’ll be working on my Halloween costume. It’ll be hard to beat last year’s Scooby Doo, but I bet this year will be just as fun!

Colton Halloween

Happy Fall!

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Hope your holidays are jolly!

This is my FINAL Champion Checkup. Can you believe it’s been a whole year? But don’t fret—I have an awesome holiday gift for you, in the form of a BIG announcement.

Click the video to meet your new Champion Checkup rep of 2023!

Click to watch video


Check out the 2021 Champion Checkups from Anna Grace!

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Hi, I'm Anna Grace! I’m 9 years old, and I’ve been with the Cincinnati Children’s Champions Program for 6 years now. You might recognize me from showing off my soccer skills—and my super cool prosthesis—in the Cincinnati Children’s Kids Can video.

It’s so great to meet you!

I’d like to share some awesome news with you about a new thing we're calling Champion Checkup! Every so often, I’ll share some really cool facts with you about me and my journey at Cincinnati Children’s. You’ll also hear about things going on at the medical center, and how friends like you can get involved (if you want to)!

Since this is our first checkup, I thought I would share a little bit about me.

First, there’s my family. My mom, Wynne, is so kind, loving, and pretty. My younger sister, Elena, is cute and fun to play with—even though she gets a little crazy sometimes…

And I’ll tell you a secret—I actually like school! My favorite subjects are science (where you get to do experiments and stuff, not just read things) and art because I love to draw.

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I have BIG hopes for the future. When I grow up, I want to work with the Champions Program. I also want to work at a camp for kids with limb differences, so that I can help others just like me!

We’ll have another checkup in March, but in the meantime, I want to thank you for helping kids at Cincinnati Children’s.

Talk soon!

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This pandemic has changed almost everything—but you can always count on the healthcare superheroes at Cincinnati Children’s to help keep kids like me healthy. Back when I was just a little 2-year-old, I had surgery.

Just a week later, they fit my leg for prosthesis!

My mom is my hero too.
She saved the day by adopting me and my sister and bringing us home to America. Plus, she takes really good care of us, and she’s fun and lets me get ice cream and ride my bike and play soccer and…well, she’s just awesome.

If I had a superpower, I’d want to be a shapeshifter and turn into a unicorn! Even if I can’t actually become a mythical creature, I definitely feel like a superhero when I do kind things for others.

Now, I have some inside info, and I can tell you about something that will make YOU feel like a superhero too! 

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Doctor’s Day is coming up—a day to recognize the amazing doctors who trade in their capes for lab coats and stethoscopes. From now until March 30, you can send them a special thank-you along with a donation in their honor. Every gift, no matter how big or small, makes a difference—just sayin’!

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I’ll be back in May with some exciting news about our BIGGEST community fundraiser, Cincinnati Walks for Kids. It’s one of my favorite days of the whole year! Until then, be safe and have fun—and thank a hero close to you. 😊

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Champion Checkup Anna Grace quote

Despite pandemic challenges, my friends at Cincinnati Children’s are making this summer super cool. Well, it’s actually super HOT, but we’re doing tons of COOL stuff—you know what I mean? 😊

In case you missed it, we had a great time at the virtual Cincinnati Walks for Kids. It’s the hospital’s largest community fundraiser, so I was happy to see so many friends join online and get moving with their family for a great cause! We even got tickets to the Cincinnati Zoo just for signing up. (I loved seeing all the zoo babies!)

We also had the Family Health and Science Expo—virtual style! Some of my scientist friends at the hospital put together experiments that kids could do right at home. Adults were allowed to do them too of course—you’re never too old for science! My favorite activity was this kid-friendly lava lamp.

Anna Grace and Elena at Champion's Firework Show

And guess what? Our Champion families were finally able to gather safely together for an awesome socially-distanced fireworks show at Coney Island! We got to watch from my grandpa’s convertible and saw the fireworks with the top down. After nearly a year apart, it was SO FUN to gather together with other families like mine who know what it means to get the very best care here at the hospital!

I was able to train for a 5K -  Anna Grace quote

Anna Grace at CCHMC and at her 5K

Yup—you read that right! Running is one of my FAVORITE things to do, and I trained for 10 WEEKS with our friends at be.well—a community wellness program guided by the Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The volunteers reminded me that I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to. And on July 3, I completed the 5K!

And that’s all just from the FIRST HALF of summer! I can’t wait to see what else is in store. I’ll tell you all about it when we chat again in my next Champion Checkup.

Because of you, kids like me are looking forward to the futu

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Hi Friends!

I’m so excited to “see” you for another Champion Checkup! It sure has been an INCREDIBLE summer—and now, it’s the start of a brand new school year! YAY! 😊

This year, I’m a fourth grader, and my sister Elena is a second grader. Since we’re switching from virtual learning to in-person school, I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends and teachers again. (While staying masked and socially distant, of course!)

First day of school photo

Look out world, here I come!

I can’t wait to get back to all the things I love, like playing music! This year, I signed up for a bucket drumming class. 

I'll also be continuing my violin lessons!

Back to school also means back to fall sports! I might decide to do flag football again. Or maybe I’ll try something totally new, like volleyball! I love sports, and I’m going to keep having fun and staying active, just like I did this summer.

Here’s some cool shots of me at the sports camp I went to recently—just for kids with limb differences. I played lots of soccer, softball and I even got to try track and field!

Long jump photo Turn out I'm pretty good at long jump! Who knew?Sports camp photo

I love being an athlete, and I know I’m UNSTOPPABLE, thanks in part to the amazing care I get at Cincinnati Children’s. With their help—and your loyal support—I can do anything I set my mind to.

I look forward to our next Champion Checkup, when I’ll have a big surprise to share with you!

All the Best!

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