All grown up, a former CMN miracle kid shares why she advocates for the non-profit

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Tori Nelson grew up hearing the stories of her early arrival.

“The stories were that I was extremely young and very little and that it was very difficult with my parents being away from me for like some 52 days when I was in the hospital. And then just that it, I was very, they were very proud of me for how well I did in school. And even though I met might have struggled that overall, it worked out pretty well,” said Tori.

She was born prematurely at 29 weeks. Her mom, Julie, was hoping a miracle would happen so Tori could grow up strong and healthy.

“Eleven weeks early, she weighed two and a half pounds and she spent 56 days in the hospital,” said Julie. “It was unreal. So I ended up going back to work two weeks after I had her because I didn’t want to have, I wanted to have time when she came home. So I was trying to go to work, plus, you know, grieving for my father plus having this preterm baby. And so yeah, it was we were so blessed to be able to go to St. Luke’s to have her a year before that. They said I would have had a minimum to Omaha and I can’t even imagine the added stress.”

Nearly five years later, Tori would have a chance to return the favor for kids just like her, campaigning as a Children’s Miracle Network miracle kid.

Read Related: Two years after spending 4 months in the NICU, this year’s CMN Miracle Kid thrives

“I remember doing a bunch of like telethons when I was little and getting to meet a bunch of other miracle kids and just always being really involved with like KTIV and Matt Breen, and then doing some of the telethons and videothons. And then also meeting quite a few doctors at like St. Luke’s and always being involved with them,” said Tori.

She would grow up raising money for CMN in high school and attend her NICU reunion. For Tori, it is all just a childhood memory now. She is 22 and busy finishing her master’s degree in engineering at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For her mom, those 56 days are ingrained in her mind. That is why they still advocate for CMN.

“I never even thought preterm labor wasn’t even on my radar and it was like -- you don’t know when it’s going to be your loved one, your sister, your family member, so we need people to realize that it still happens and miracles are still being born,” said Julie

If you would like to donate to this year’s mediathon, follow this link.