Meet Starlight Ambassador Olivianna

When Olivianna was born, her family immediately knew she was something special, but they never expected that by the age of six, she’d have experienced over 30 MRIs.  

At just six months old, Olivianna, sweetly referred to as OJ, was diagnosed with a grade II atypical choroid plexus tumor on the right side of her brain and was immediately admitted to the PICU. During one of her many surgeries, complications arose, OJ coded, and she was later diagnosed with visual impairment and epilepsy as a result. 

Getting a diagnosis for your 6-month-old baby is heartbreaking. You know kids get sick, you see it on TV, but when they tell you your infant has a brain tumor, it changes you.

- Olivianna's mom, Hildie
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Since then, OJ and her family have been in and out of the hospital for treatments, surgeries, and MRIs, but her spirit never wavers, thanks in part to Starlight programs. According to her mom, she knew when an MRI was coming because they’d have to change her into a basic hospital gown, and it was always a struggle. But one day after receiving a Starlight Gown instead, the struggle stopped, and she was more comfortable and visibly happier. 

“The Starlight Gowns were more like putting her in pajamas; they felt different and have so many cute patterns, and that really helped make her more comfortable. We have a good amount of them now and I even keep one in the car just in case because you never know when you’re going to need it.” ~ Hildie

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The Starlight Radio Flyer Hero Wagons, however, are OJ and her family’s favorite program! 

“Being able to put Olivianna in one of the Starlight Radio Flyer Hero Wagons and take her out of the hospital room is one of the best things that we get to do. If we stop to talk to someone, she pushes in the wagon like “Let’s go mom!” Her sister enjoys pushing her around in the wagon, too! It’s the highlight of being in the hospital for us and we get as much “hallway airtime" as we can.”

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While she’s still hospitalized for a week every month to receive immunotherapy, Olivianna and her family rest a little bit easier knowing that Starlight programs are always there to provide comfort and moments of joy when they need it most. 

We are thrilled to have Olivianna join our Starlight Ambassadors in 2023!

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