Drake Kids of the Game
Willie Baker, and Ava, Aidan, and Miles Wietl were recently named the “ChildServe Kids of the Game” at Drake University basketball games. They each received a Medal for Mettle for showing exceptional courage during difficult circumstances.
Medal for Mettle is an organization which allows top athletes to donate their medals from marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons to children who are completing marathons every day due to their complex health needs.
Willie received his medal for relearning how to talk, walk, and eat after a car accident in July 2016 left him with a broken leg and a severe brain injury. He remained unconscious for a full month before coming to live at ChildServe to receive skilled care and physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Willie’s hard work and energy made his family and care team proud as they watched him fight to gain skills and return home.
Ava was born with a rare congenital heart defect called HLHS, meaning that the left side of her heart was severely underdeveloped. She was given a 40% chance of survival. Ava’s first heart surgery took place when she was just two hours old. After another complex heart surgery at six months old, and years of physical, feeding, and speech therapy, Ava continues to surpass expectations. Now a spunky four-year old, Ava amazes her parents and her therapy team at ChildServe with her courage, hard work, and her joyful attitude.
Last March, Ava’s little brother Miles was also born with HLHS, and like his sister, endured two open heart surgeries in the first months of his life. Miles’ parents and his therapy team at ChildServe have been thrilled to see Miles grow stronger and eat better through physical, speech, and feeding therapy.
Ava’s twin brother Aidan has a special talent of keeping his siblings smiling during doctors visits and therapy sessions. He also builds skills in feeding therapy and occupational therapy at ChildServe due to developmental difficulties caused by his and Ava’s premature birth.