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Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals honors Liangie Monclova-Martinez, 8, and Thor Forte, 5, both of Craven County, who are among the Miracle Children for the 31st annual Celebration Broadcast

June 03, 2016 by Beth Anne Atkins

GREENVILLE, N.C. - No one knows what caused Liangie Monclova-Martinez to develop encephalitis, but by the time she arrived at Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center in May 2015, she was having uncontrollable seizures.

Her condition was so serious that she was placed in a medically-induced coma for six weeks. During that time, her recovery began, but she fought another kind of battle after waking.

“She wasn’t able to speak, or hold her head up,” says her mother, Viangie Martinez. “It was two weeks before she knew I was her mother.” In all, Liangie remained hospitalized for three months, undergoing treatment for her seizures and receiving medications to help control them. Throughout their stay at Maynard Children’s Hospital, the staff made sure they felt comfortable every step of the way.

“At the beginning it was hard for me, because I was worried,” she says. “I didn’t understand what was happening to my daughter. The doctors had a lot of patience, and they would write things down for me, so I could look them up online to learn about them.”

Liangie is doing much better and is back at school with her third-grade classmates. She is catching up and working on her reading, too.

“She’s on her way,” her mother says. “Her therapies are working, and she’s showing a lot of improvement.” She is scheduled to undergo additional surgery to help reduce her remaining seizures.

Even though he is only 5 years old, Thor Forte has already undergone more than 23 blood transfusions. He has sickle cell anemia, a painful condition that reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. As a result, Thor experiences the sensation of pins or razors in his joints when the disease flares up.

Thor is a brave little boy who is loved by everyone. He comes to Greenville from the family’s Havelock home about once a month for transfusions. Despite his initial fear, the bright surroundings at the children’s hospital’s pediatric day medical ambulatory unit help him to feel comfortable and safe.

“When he started to get the transfusions, he was so scared,” Tameka Forte says. “But once he got there and met the greeter and the nurses, everything changed.”

He is happy and playful, and understands that sometimes he must take it easy. Although his immune system is compromised, he has avoided long hospital stays, and he takes medication to prevent infections. Thor is set to start kindergarten in the fall.

“He’s outgoing,” Tameka says. “He knows he has the disease, and he knows when he’s tired, and he will take a break. He’s educated about his disease, and can talk with his nurses.”

Liangie, Thor, and other miracle children and their families will share their amazing stories of recovery at the 31st annual Celebration Broadcast on June 3 and 5, celebrating the healing that’s made possible through donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Donors’ generosity helps make sure the Maynard Children’s Hospital has the most advanced treatments possible for children in eastern North Carolina.

This year’s telethon is shining a special spotlight on the equipment and programs donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At Maynard Children’s Hospital, children are welcomed by colorful, cheerful settings that reassure them during what may be a scary hospitalization. Contributions help fund diversions to reduce their fear, and ease pain they may feel.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat one of every 10 children in North America. The network is big, but 100 percent of contributions stays right here in eastern North Carolina.

This year’s miracle children this year have bravely faced difficult illnesses, but today they are enjoying fun childhood activities with their friends and families.

As she recovers, Liangie and her family are looking for a service dog to help her. They are planning fun activities together this summer, too. Their little girl enjoys running, riding her bike, visiting the park – and playing with her dog, a Yorkie named Kaiiri. She also loves her brothers, Andres, 12, and Leonardo, 4. Liangie’s father, Felix, is a Marine, and they live at Cherry Point.

A favorite “staff member” for Thor isn’t on the payroll at all – it’s Jitters, the therapy dog, whose wagging tail brings smiles to children undergoing treatment.

“He really loves Jitters,” Tameka says. “He asks about her all the time.”

“I’m so glad Maynard Children’s Hospital is nearby,” she says. “It’s is a wonderful thing. People don’t understand the effect this hospital has in the area. We need to contribute to make sure it stays here.”

Daddy, Rodney Forte is grateful for his son’s ongoing strength and recovery.

“He acts just like any other kid,” Rodney says. “I don’t think we’d be able to have Thor in the healthy state he is in now without the children’s hospital at Vidant. The doctors and nurses, and the entire staff, accommodated Thor in every way possible to make things less stressful for him.”

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