Patient champion plans to cheer on runners

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — At first, you’d think Millie is a typical 5-year-old girl, and in many ways she is: she loves Frozen, princesses, playing tee ball and taking dance lessons. But this little girl is anything but typical.

Millie has had a surgery for almost every year of her life. She was born with distal arthrogryposis Type 1, a congenital disease that causes joint deformities and can restrict limb movement. This  year, Millie is a Nationwide Children’s Hospital Patient Champion for the Columbus Marathon.

“Basically the first four years of her life consisted of doctors’ visits, therapy,” said Millie’s dad Brett. “Within her first few weeks of life, she was already wearing casts up to her hips, she’s had two surgeries on her legs, she had open heart surgery when she was two… and she had her left hand repaired as well about a year after the open heart surgery.”

As a patient champion, Millie gets to have her own mile in the Columbus Marathon. Every champion gets to pick a theme for their mile, and Millie couldn’t be more excited about hers: she picked a Frozen theme because Elsa is her favorite. It’s a welcome sign of normalcy in a life that has been anything but.

“She finally learned to walk and this past year is the first year we haven’t had any surgeries, so we signed her up for tee ball and dance and just letting her do her thing, be a kid,” Brett said.

You can see Millie on Mile 8 of the Columbus Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 16.

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