Eighteen-month-old Noemi smiles and giggles as she puts on her pink polka-dotted slippers. She pitter pats around the living room, gaining confidence with every step. Noemi loves to move. But life hasn’t always been so carefree.

Noemi weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces at birth. At just two weeks old, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening intestinal disease. This rare and devastating condition causes inflammation and infections that can destroy the bowel wall. “When we learned of her diagnosis, I was very scared for my daughter’s life,” Maria says.

Doctors transferred Noemi to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s National Hospital. “I was amazed by how attentive the staff was to our whole family,” Maria recalls. “There was someone in the room the whole time.”

Noemi’s condition improved then worsened over the next few months. After exploratory surgery revealed an obstruction, our team removed a portion of her small intestine. She later was outfitted with a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) that delivers nutrients directly to her stomach. She was ready to go home for the first time at 8 months old.

Noemi is now 3 years old and starting preschool. "She loves to sing and dance and continues to amaze us with her strength and joy for life," her mom says. "We are forever grateful to Children's National."

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.