February 23, 2023
Introducing Nyah, our 2023 Champion!
Nyah’s name means “tenacious,” and during her five-year journey with cancer, she has exemplified the truest sense of the word. Today, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is announcing Nyah Green, 15, as the 2023 Champion, part of the Children’s Miracle Network Champions Program that celebrates the life-saving, life-changing care taking place at children’s hospitals across the country. The Champion is a patient who has shown incredible courage and lived above a diagnosis. As Champion, Nyah will be the official ambassador for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and represents the 100,000 kids and families cared for at the hospital each year.
A healthy and active, soccer-playing 10-year-old, Nyah’s life changed drastically when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in September 2017. Suddenly, her world revolved around hospital appointments, transfusions, chemotherapy and regularly scheduled lumbar punctures. Because treatment compromised her immune system, she couldn’t attend school with her friends or participate in her favourite activities While her parents were heartbroken to see her so nauseous and tired from the harsh cancer treatments, they were inspired by her determination and sharp humour in the face of it all.
Thankfully, to make treatments a little more manageable, Nyah benefitted from a first-in-Canada, donor-funded program called Hospital at Home, during which she could receive some of her chemotherapy in the comfort of her own home, saving her from many nights in hospital, and providing convenience, comfort and a small bit of normalcy for Nyah and her family.
By early 2020, Nyah’s cancer was in remission, however, by the end of the year, she had relapsed twice. In May 2021, she received a bone marrow transplant to completely kill off all remaining cancer cells in her body.
“It looked like any other blood transfusion I’d ever received, but this one was pretty special,” Nyah says. “It was 9 million cells that would save my life.”
Thanks to the generosity of our community over the last 10 years, the Alberta Children’s Hospital is the largest BMT centre in western Canada and second largest in the country. Today, while Nyah is back in remission, she lives with side effects and is still closely monitored by her team of specialists. She and her parents are grateful for the world-class care she received at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and research currently underway to discover gentler therapies to reduce or eliminate the life-long side effects experienced by many childhood cancer survivors. In fact, Nyah aspires to be an Oncologist herself one day.
“On the oncology unit, the nurses and doctors become like your second family and your hospital is like your home away from home,” says Nyah. “It’s such a great place and it saved my life. Despite all I have been through, I am so grateful to my team and for the opportunities to give back as an ambassador.”
“For the way she has faced her tumultuous road with grace, humour and strength, in our eyes, Nyah is a true Champion,” says Saifa Koonar, President and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Her story is an example of how generosity from our community, supporting excellence such as the Hospital at Home Program and bone marrow transplantation advances care and saves lives.”