MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you get a cold, it can be such a pain to get over, but there are children who have a much harder time when they get sick.

Lily usually has to go to Children’s Hospital when she has a cold, but she’s using her time there to perfect her art and plan for the future.

At 12 years old, Lily is a self-taught artist. Every unexpected hospital stay means she has a lot of time to practice.

“Every year I kind of get sick and I’ve got to go here,” she said.

When Lily gets a cold, her body isn’t able to fight it off. She has asthma and her trachea is a little different, making coughing really difficult. It’s a condition she was born with.

“When I was first born I went straight here for six months,” Lily said.

The name of the condition: VACTERL association, which means some parts of her body didn’t form correctly. (It stands for “vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities.”)

They were able to fix most problems as a baby, but that common cold can still land her in the hospital — and, of course, with time to concentrate on her artistry.

“My sister Leah and my dad have the same cold as me,” Lily said, “but we can Facetime.”

Her time here at Children’s has also shaped her goals for the future.

“I feel close to this place,” Lily said. “I just enjoy this place.”

She wants to be a child life specialist when she grows up, which would definitely involve a lot of art. Until then, she’ll use her hospital stay as training for the future.

  1. Lydia Kelly says:

    I would love to connect with Lily’s mom. As a mom of a VACTERL kiddo who also is a Children’s of MN hospital patient. We have a few support groups that are great resources for families.