A National Champion for Children's Healthcare
Duke Children's patient and longtime Patient Ambassador Benjamin Pappas is a 2022 Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals National Champion. Benjamin is one of eleven pediatric patients across the country to hold this honor, representing CMN Hospitals on a national level in marketing materials and at CMN Hospitals events.
Benjamin is a 16-year-old high school sophomore, who will be a high school junior and turn 17 in fall of 2022. He lives in Raleigh and has been a Duke Children's patient since he developed an unexplained limp as a young child. He had never been a particularly active toddler, but the limp sent his parents to numerous doctors' offices and medical institutions in the area in search of answers. It wasn't until they came to Duke that they found a team tenacious enough to pursue a diagnosis. That diagnosis took some time to receive, but it gave Benjamin and his family the answer they so desperately sought.
Benjamin has chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) a rare autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and organs, causing pain and inflammation. Benjamin will live with CRMO his whole life, but his condition is managed incredibly well thanks to his Duke care team.
CRMO doesn't slow Benjamin down. He is active in Boy Scouts and swimming and loves math, science, and tending to his family's chickens. Benjamin's family -- father Rick, and older sister, Colette -- are longtime advocates for Duke Children's. Benjamin's late mother, Ruthie, who passed away in fall of 2022, was also a Duke Children's advocate and Benjamin's biggest champion.
During April 11-16 of 2022, Benjamin and his family attended Children’s Hospitals Week, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals meetings that takes place annually in Orlando, Florida. Benjamin and the other champion families enjoyed a whirlwind week of programming, including events hosted by CMN Hospitals corporate partners such as Ace Hardware and speaking engagements at several “Meet the Champions” panel sessions. He was also the featured speaker at a session attended by representatives from top fundraising Walmart and Sam’s Club locations around the country and at the Corporate Partner Summit, attended by representatives from CMN Hospitals’ corporate partners. In addition to his champion duties, Benjamin and his family enjoyed a day at the Disney parks before traveling home to Raleigh.
Thank you, Benjamin, for beautifully representing not only Duke Children’s, but pediatric patients around the country! We are thrilled to have one of our own selected for this incredible honor.
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