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Defying the Odds One 'Never' at a Time

Elijah's story

Elijah, or “Lij” as he is affectionately known by his friends and family, has been a patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu for almost all of his young life.

Lij suffered a stroke when his mom, Leah, was in her second trimester of pregnancy. As a result, he was born prematurely. Not only did Lij acquire a traumatic brain injury as a result of the stroke in utero, he also was given a predictive list of “nevers.” His parents were told their son would never eat without a tube, never see and never walk.

Despite these predictions, Lij defied the odds and by the age of 2 was living a happy, healthy life. He was visually tracking moving objects, eating by mouth and reciting numbers 1-100, letters, colors, shapes and animals.

"Elijah is just like any other kid; he doesn't let his wheelchair stop him from doing anything," Leah said.

He has overcome a heart failure and multiple shunt failures, as well as a seizure disorder. In fact, he is going on almost seven years seizure-free!

Lij inspires his mom with his many achievements, and Leah credits the Honolulu Shriners Hospital for much of his progress. In 2019, Leah took on the title of Mrs. Honolulu to bring further awareness to the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children.

"Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu has been wonderful in the care they provide for my son," Leah said. "Not only that, our care providers – from the doctors, nurses and therapists, to the imaging tech, receptionists and cafeteria workers – have also shown tremendous aloha to our other children, and to me and my husband. They really do care about the health and well-being of the entire ‘ohana (family).

“Elijah has come a long way. I’m excited for where he can go from here.”

Elijah and his mom

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