Last week, Lance Hupkovich, the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Champion Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), and his family, boarded Delta Airlines to be greeted by Delta pilots in the cockpit. Lance was off to a great start of #ChildrensHospitalsWeek week in Orlando, Florida. Once again, a large crowd chanting, “Lance” greeted Lance as he walked off the plane. Lance was escorted to meet Delta employees for a special tour of an airplane. Then off to Disney Coronado Springs Resort. Once settled in, Lance was put to work recording radio ads.
CMNH had a busy week planned for the many champions and sponsors. On Tuesday, March 21, Ace Hardware sponsored a welcome party for fathers and Chico’s FAS Inc., White House Black Market, and Soma hosted the mothers. The champions and their siblings partied with Delta. Families had the opportunity to thank CMNH co-founder Marie Osmond and Steve Young, former NFL quarterback, also greeted families.
During some free family time Wednesday morning, Lance was a guest at the WWE Performance Center. As a super fan of WWE and NXT, Lance didn’t hesitate when asked to step into the ring to announce a match between his NXT favorites! A special thanks to everyone involved with Lance’s incredible day at the center! Later that afternoon, #ChildrensHospitalsWeek had the hallway of the resort filled with cheering and drumming as champions made their way to meet the sponsors. The Champions were off for a great evening at the pin exchange. Lance enjoyed shaking hands, meeting, and thanking CMNH sponsors while they traded pins and collected Lance’s signature.
Although Lance had a great time enjoying Disney parks, another favorite activity occurred in the evening with Extra Life. The video gamers of Extra Life compete to raise funds for their local CMNH. Our local Pittsburgh members were in attendance, and Lance was thrilled to see his friends again! Lance eagerly made his way around greeting the gamers.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the friends we have become so close to during this process. CMNH made our goodbye an extravagant Champion Medal Ceremony. During breakfast, Champions were greeted by a visit from co-founders Marie Osmond and John Schneider who brought along Mickey Mouse and friends! The Champions proudly walked the runway where they were greeted by actor, Nick Cannon. CMNH sponsors and Miss America Savvy Shields awarded the medals to the Champions!
Lance is incredibly honored to represent his lifesaver, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Pennsylvania Champion for Pennsylvania. Don’t forget, CMNH funds always stay local!
In 2010, a 4-year-old Lance was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his brain stem that compressed his spine and an optic nerve tumor. Lance’s medical team performed spinal decompression to allow extra space for tumor growth during his treatment. The inoperable tumors were treated with radiation and chemotherapy, as well as peptide vaccine injections Lance received as part of an institutional vaccine study at Children’s Hospital. Lance experienced positive results and has not required treatment since October 2012. He continues to improve each day.