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For My Son, Phoenix


Article written by Michael Wiltfong, a fourth-year participant who plays for St. Louis Children's Hospital.


I started Extra Life four years ago after the birth of my son, Phoenix Joeseph.


Early into the pregnancy we found out he was going to be born with a defect called gastroscesis. Basically, he has a hole in his abdomen and his intestines were developing outside his body. I was fresh out of the military and had recently laid off when the due date drew near.


We drove an hour into the city to see a specialist every week to make sure he was safe and growing. The day he was born, the greatest day of my life, I saw my baby boy get taken to surgery seconds after coming into the world. After a successful surgery he was in the NICU and his mother and I didn’t want to leave his side, unfortunately we would have to after her 3-day recovery period.


Luckily a nurse was kind enough to tell a member of the hospital staff our situation and they helped us get a room at the Ronald McDonald House and a small care package of essentials for Phoenix. I never forgot the generosity of these people so I promised to repay that kindness.

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So four years and almost $2,000 dollars later I keep to that promise, I do it to give hope to not only the children but to the parents as well, so they know people out there hear their call and answer it proudly.


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