Diabetes Can't Slow Down Children’s Miracle Network Ambassadors

 Back to Patient Stories

Baystate Health Foundation is excited to announce the 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Ambassadors for Baystate Children’s Hospital: Ava and Nora O’Connor.

In December 2016, 6-year-old Ava had been experiencing unusual symptoms, including nausea and fatigue. Thinking she may be dealing with an infection, her parents Shantelle and Brian brought her to her primary care physician. What they found was that Ava did not have an infection, but rather found that she had sugar in her urine – an indicator of diabetes. Her physician recommended she have blood work done quickly and began seeing Dr. Rushika Conroy at Baystate Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes - Springfield. It was then confirmed that Ava had Type 1 Diabetes.

“I can’t explain how grateful I am for the team who began our care at Baystate Health,” shared Shantelle. “They spent so much time with us, providing us the education we needed to begin this new journey with Ava and keep her healthy and alive. We would not have made it through those early days without that team.”

The O’Connors put that education to good use when in April 2018, their 4-year-old Nora was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Through genetic testing, the family was able to see that Nora had four of the markers that indicated she may be diabetic, and after exhibiting similar symptoms to Ava, Nora’s blood sugar was tested and her diagnosis was confirmed.

“It was spring break during this time and Dr. Conroy was on vacation when we received the diagnosis. She came in, on her day off, so that we were able to keep the girls’ care with the same medical team,” shared Shantelle. “That level of dedication and support has been the standard we’ve received with the girls’ care at Baystate Children’s Hospital. I’m grateful we found such an amazing medical team to care for our children.”

Today, 12-year-old Ava and 9-year-old Nora have their Type 1 Diabetes well controlled. They are mindful about what they eat and monitor their blood sugar to ensure they remain in target range. Serving as Children’s Miracle Network Ambassadors for Baystate Children’s Hospital, Ava and Nora will be celebrated during the 94.7 WMAS Radiothon for Baystate Children’s Hospital on March 7-8, 2023, and during the Baystate Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament on June 12, 2023, along with appearances in support of our Children’s Miracle Network Corporate Partners.

“We’re so excited to be part of the efforts to support Baystate Children’s Hospital. I’m grateful to have a resource like this in our own backyard and ensuring that children who receive care there have all that they need is something we believe deeply in,” shared Shantelle.

Support Baystate Children’s Hospital through a donation or by attending one of our fundraising events to support local kids.

Ava O'Connor shares why the Baystate Children's Hospital team is her hero:

baystate health's the beat monthly e-newsletter subscribe image

Health & Wellness Tips

Sign up for monthly emails from Baystate Health.

Back to Top