Live Your Dreams: Sheree's Story | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

Live Your Dreams

At 13, Sheree was one of the older patients who returned to the Fetal Family Reunion at CHOP.Sheree
Older & Wiser
Sheree, 13, returned to the fetal family reunion at CHOP with her dad Benjamin, to spread the word to younger kids and their families that disabilities don't define them. Born with CDH, today Sheree enjoys both active and passive teen pursuits. For more photos from the reunion, see our slide show.

“I asked my dad to bring me because I wanted to meet kids with disabilities like me and show them what they can do,” said Sheree, who was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a condition that affects about one in every 2,500 live births and can be fatal.

CDH is characterized by the development of a hole in the diaphragm, very early in gestation, that allows abdominal organs to move into the chest and restrict lung development.

The high school freshman has had 20 operations so far, but isn’t letting her health issues affect her attitude and what she can do.

During the school year, she lives with her mom in Lawton, OK, and enjoys playing soccer, volleyball and dancing. In the summer, when she lives with her dad in Somerdale, NJ, she loves swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends.

At the reunion, Sheree climbed the rock wall, played games and chatted with new friends.

“It’s just good to be around all these people and hang out. The vibe is really positive,” Sheree said.

When she talks to younger kids, she urges them to look beyond their health conditions.

“Birth defects and disabilities don’t define who we are,” Sheree said. “We can live our dreams.”


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