On Wednesday, the 6-year-old Cartersville resident was selected as the Tennessee Champion for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She already was serving as a “Miracle Child” for T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger after regaining her footing following a traumatic brain injury in October.
“It’s a huge honor,” said her father, Gregg Cofield. “It means the world to us to know that there are many, many, many kids out of five different hospitals in the Tennessee area where the Miracle kids are chosen and for her to be chosen as the ambassador or the Champion, it’s unbelievable. It is really unbelievable.
“But the cool thing is part of the funds that the Children’s Miracle Network raised over the last couple of years went into funding for a pediatric CT scanner and that was used multiple times on Greer. And it’s all custom painted up. It has a barn theme and a horse theme. It just kind of fit right in with our story. Also another thing was they had a private room in the pediatric intensive care unit, and we were able to actually stay inside that room. So that’s two examples of [how we have benefited from] the funds that they’ve raised. ... So that’s pretty cool to us.”
On Oct. 8, Greer was kicked in the head by a horse during a horseback riding lesson. Sustaining injuries, such as facial fractures, a large laceration and bleeding in her brain, she received assistance from Bartow County Emergency Medical Services before being transported by Life Force to T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Along with being released from the hospital 10 days after she was placed on a ventilator, Greer — who originally was thought to have Broca’s aphasia, a condition that could have hampered her verbal communication skills for up to three months — started talking to her mother in a day. Expected to make a full recovery, Greer now is resuming her riding lessons, preparing to compete in two horse shows in the next three months.
“Greer and her family will work throughout the year as ambassadors for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said Miranda Barnard, who oversees the national Champions program at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “They help increase awareness in Tennessee about the important role children’s hospitals play in their communities and educate others on the hospitals’ charitable need. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the United States provide $6,500 every minute in charitable care. The need is constant; Champions work to inform their states that children’s hospitals are able to provide the incredible care for which they’re known because of community support.
“Greer and her family help demonstrate the kinds of miracles that happen in our member hospitals every day, thanks to the generous donations from the community that often come in $1 at a time. She will make appearances at fundraising events in Tennessee and then in the fall, represent the state at CMN Hospitals Celebration — a huge event at Disney World where our hospitals, corporate partners, celebrity friends, media partners and other supporters gather to celebrate the miracles that happened at our hospitals that year. Greer will then travel to Washington, D.C., in her ambassador role, where typically Champions meet with Congressional leaders and often visit the White House to share the important work of children’s hospitals.”
For Greer’s family, the opportunity to give back to the organization that assisted in her recovery is an honor.
“There is no doubt Greer being here with us today is nothing short of a miracle,” Greer’s mother, Shannon Cofield, told The Daily Tribune News in December. “Children’s Miracle Network naming her as a Miracle Child simply confirms our secular world sees it as a miracle, too. Out of thousands of patients they treat in a year, and she being one of [nine] representing T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger I believe speaks volumes.
“We have committed to help Children’s Hospital Network by bringing awareness to their organization along with fundraising efforts so their services will be available to other families like ours during very dark times. ... All the people, from security guards, staff in the Medical Mall Food Court, Trauma, PICU and countless others made certain Greer’s needs were met as well as ours. It was an experience none can compare to. We couldn’t walk down the hallway of this rather large medical facility/hospital without someone asking about Greer by name.”