2020 Miracle Child – Kimber Jane De La Cruz

Kimber with her hand on her hip posing and smiling for the camera.

When you meet 2020 Miracle Child, Kimber Jane De La Cruz, the first thing you’ll notice is her infectious smile. Whether dancing to whatever music may be playing, cheering for her siblings at their sports matches, or simply hanging out with her family, Kimber is a happy four-year-old girl! But things haven’t always been so joyful for the De La Cruz family. The beginning of Kimber’s life was full of obstacles they had to overcome together.

Born at 27 weeks’ gestation, weighing just 1lb. 15oz. and measuring only 13.5 inches long, the doctors knew Kimber would have to fight for her life in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Tyler.

Kimber’s list of medical challenges while in the NICU included frequent oxygen saturation and heart rate drops, three blood transfusions, retinopathy of prematurity, several days on a ventilator and months on oxygen support. However, it wasn’t until Kimber had been in the unit for 9 weeks that her parents got the hardest news. A routine scan showed damage to the white matter in her brain, known as Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). At the time, there was no way to know what hurdles Kimber and her family would face as she grew.

After 84 days in the NICU, Kimber was finally able to go home. Over the next several months, the De La Cruz family noticed developmental delays. At just under a year old, Kimber was officially diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. The damage to her brain was confined to her left ventricle, so her right side is weaker than her left. Kimber’s ongoing physical challenges include weakness in her right arm and leg, balance issues, and a minor speech delay.

During her stay at the NICU, many of the advanced pieces of equipment used in Kimber’s treatment were purchased by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To help her grow stronger, she currently receives occupational, physical and speech therapies and attends the CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Special Needs Clinic, provided by CMNH.

Kimber is a strong-willed, happy little girl whose favorite phrase is, “I DO IT!” She never lets her physical weaknesses slow her down as she participates in dance recitals and keeps up with her classmates and siblings. Kimber is a joy to her family and all who meet her and continues to inspire others with her cheerful smile each day!