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Miracle Network enlists boy, 9, for Disney duty


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POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009

Nine-year-old Devin Otto, who was 13 inches long and weighed only 1 pound, 14.9 ounces at birth, has been chosen by the Children's Miracle Network to represent Hawaii in the Champions Across America program.

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Devin and his twin brothers, Blake and Carsen, were all born prematurely at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

“;I feel like my boys are alive today because of Kapiolani,”; said their mother, Donna Otto of Kaneohe. “;I am just so grateful that Kapiolani was there and my boys are OK, all three of them.”;

She said she does not know how she and her husband, Rory, “;got so lucky three times.”;

They had planned their pregnancies, and she had done everything she was supposed to do, she said. “;I'm one of a growing number of women giving birth prematurely for unknown reasons.”;

Gestation, the period from conception to birth, normally is 37 weeks. Devin was born at 25 weeks on July 28, 1999, and the twins were born at 26 weeks on Nov. 26, 2002, “;17 minutes after I walked in the door (of Kapiolani),”; Otto said. The twins each weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces, and were “;a ruler long,”; she said.

All three boys spent their first months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and “;came home on oxygen and monitors,”; Otto said. “;We had early intervention to help them keep up with meeting developmental goals.”;

Devin is in fourth grade at Le Jardin Academy, and Blake and Carsen are kindergartners at St. Anthony's.

Born with many bacterial, fungal, lung, blood and bladder infections, Devin underwent several blood transfusions and multiple surgeries. Now thriving, he enjoys soccer and swimming with his little brothers, his mother said.

“;We're one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as us. We're very thankful Kapiolani was there with the latest in technology, courtesy of Children's Miracle Network, making sure it has the latest equipment and the best education for doctors and nurses.”;

The entire family will leave tomorrow for Florida for the Children's Miracle Network Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort. Then all of the nation's champion families will leave on a chartered Delta flight to Washington, D.C.

Besides touring the nation's capital, they are scheduled to visit President Barack Obama and “;show him how important it is that these hospitals need support,”; Otto said. Kapiolani is one of 170 Children's Miracle Network hospitals that provide lifesaving treatments and preventive care for millions of ill and injured children.

Since Obama is from Hawaii and was born at Kapiolani, Otto said, “;We're hoping we'll get a little bit of extra attention.”; But more important things might interrupt their visit, she acknowledged.

Wal-Mart and Sam's Club sponsor Champions Across America. Otto said Wal-Mart gave her family a $500 gift card to buy things for the trip “;because we don't have warm clothes,”; Otto said.

New tennis shoes for the boys were one of their first purchases.

“;The twins think they can run really fast now with new tennis shoes.”;