Savannah Twins Chosen As Georgia Champions for Children’s Miracle Network

(May 4, 2011) - Three-year-old twins Stephen and Matthew Huffman of Savannah have been selected to represent the state of Georgia in the Champions Across America program sponsored by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. As Georgia's Champions, Stephen and Matthew will serve as ambassadors for the millions of children like them who are treated each year at children's hospitals across America. This year's local telethon will be on Saturday, June 4, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on CBS affiliate WTOC - 11.

The twins' parents, Tim and Dana Huffman, were told that they would never be able to conceive, so they were overjoyed to learn they were pregnant with twins. That joy was cut short when, four months before her due date, Dana went into labor. Stephen and Matthew came into the world at 24 weeks gestation, each weighing less than one-and-a-half pounds. The family was in for the fight for their lives.

The tiny babies faced a host of medical problems. Both were anemic and needed multiple blood transfusions. Their organs were not fully developed - especially their vulnerable lungs and eyes. Both babies suffered ventricular brain bleeds. Stephen's was categorized as a II and Matthew's a IV, which is considered catastrophic. Doctors told the Huffmans the boys would face life-long health and developmental problems, and that Matthew may never walk or speak.

The little boys were fighters. After three months in the neonatal intensive care nursery at Memorial University Medical Center, they finally went home. Now toddlers, you would never guess all that they had gone through. Today, Stephen and Matthew are active little boys and keep their parents constantly on the move. They are truly miracles.

The twins and their family will travel to Washington, D.C., and then to Orlando, to represent The Children's Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center. While in Washington, D.C., the family will tour the nation's capitol, meet with lawmakers, and tour the White House. In Orlando, Stephen and Matthew will visit Walt Disney World and meet with national sponsors and the other state ambassadors from across North America.

The Champions Across America program was created to raise awareness of children's hospitals and the 17 million children treated in them each year. The Children's Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center is one of 170 Children's Miracle Network hospitals dedicated to the treatment of sick and injured children.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. You can follow us at facebook.com/memorialhealth, twitter.com/mymemorial, and youtube.com/memorialhealth.