Miracle Weekend Kid Hosts
We’re thrilled to have six amazing young people joining us at this year’s Miracle Weekend. Luca Piccolo, Brooke Malakoff, Faris Abdulwahab and Jemma Wright will return to host after doing the job so well last year. This time, they’ll be joined by a new host: 10-year-old Grace Teboekhorst. Also, we will be spending some time with Hans Gabriel Rana and his family. Hans is this year's Champion Child as part of the Champions presented by Walmart Canada program – a Children’s Miracle Network program that honours remarkable children who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
Together with their Global BC co-hosts, our young hosts will share information about the hospital, introduce patients, show how your donations will make a difference, and talk about their own experiences at the hospital. Be sure to tune in and show these amazing patients some support during the Miracle Weekend telethon broadcast on May 30 and 31.
Here’s a brief look at each host’s story:
Hans Gabriel Rana, Miracle Weekend Champion Child
Hans has overcome incredible odds to survive two open-heart surgeries before the age of six to fix the right ventricle in his heart. Although Hans may require more surgeries in the future, today he is a happy, chatty, vibrant and much healthier young boy.
Luca Piccolo, Saturday night host
Luca was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a chronic and life-limiting illness, when he was two years old. He visits the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at BC Children’s Hospital regularly to see a variety of specialists who make sure he eats the right foods and manages his health needs properly.
Luca’s condition requires him to maintain a strict daily regimen of medication and therapy. He takes up to 45 pills a day to prevent infections and aid in digestion; he also uses a PEP mask and does physiotherapy exercises twice a day.
You can read more about Luca’s life with cystic fibrosis here.
Brooke Malakoff, Saturday night host
Brooke was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that had previously only been seen in babies. Her tumour burst on Christmas Day in 2011, and she was rushed to BC Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery.
Doctors successfully removed the tumour, but Brooke lost her left lung as a result of her surgery.
Today, 20-year-old Brooke still undergoes chemotherapy. Read Brooke’s full story.
Grace Teboekhorst, Sunday morning host
Grace’s father gave her a kidney after she was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, an extremely rare disease that damages the kidneys and weakens the immune system.
Grace enjoys an active life and receives post-transplant care at BC Children’s Hospital. Learn more about Grace.
Faris Abdulwahab, Sunday afternoon host
Faris Abdulwahab, or Faris Freeze, as he’s known to some, was born with a genetic bone disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease. His bones fracture easily and he has a slight curvature in his spine that limits his body movement.
Faris was the first child with his condition to have metal rods installed in his legs to support his weight and prevent fractures – a treatment traditionally used to treat elderly people with osteoporosis.
Despite all the challenges he faces Faris has always remained positive. Read more about Faris.
Jemma Wright, Sunday afternoon host
In January 2013, Jemma was diagnosed with scoliosis. She was just 14 years old. The teen started to feel pain during a dance class, and a subsequent MRI showed that she had bulging discs at both the top and bottom of her spine.
While her scoliosis has not progressed, doctors are not certain what kind of treatment she will need in the future.
Jemma had become familiar with BC Children’s long before her own health concerns brought her there, as her brother Casey was diagnosed with brain cancer at six months old and suffered a severe stroke in February 2013. Casey is a celebrity in his own right and has helped host Miracle Weekend in the past.
Please tune in on Miracle Weekend and see all of these remarkable young patients in action!