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Tatiana's Story

Tatiana, a young athlete, didn’t let being an amputee hold her back. But severe pain put her on the sidelines. Here’s how you gave her hope, strength and an amazing opportunity.
Tatiana joined a competitive swim team when she was 8. She didn’t have to wear her prosthetic leg in the water, and, she says, “It felt like pure freedom.”

But by age 12, pain stopped her again — this time in her knee and joints. She went to see Dr. Hemalatha Srinivasalu, a pediatric rheumatologist at Children’s National Hospital. That’s how Tatiana came to learn that she had an autoimmune disease called juvenile arthritis — but treatment was available. 

She started chemotherapy. “I lost my hair and felt sick a lot,” she says. “I thought I might never be able to swim again. That would have been awful. Swimming is one of the only things that makes me forget I’m an amputee.”

But Dr. Srinivasalu helped Tatiana understand what was happening.

“Dr. Hema gave me hope. She had my back. She said I was in charge of my body and to trust that I’d know when to rest,” Tatiana says.

Tatiana is now 15, and she swims almost every day. And here’s something amazing that you helped make possible: She’s competing in the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials this summer! Her events include the 400-meter freestyle, a 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter backstroke. 

With your help, Tatiana is reaching for gold. But that’s not all that motivates her. She says, “I hope my swimming gives other kids hope, like Dr. Hema has always given me.”

Thank you for supporting compassionate care for kids and teens like Tatiana. You’ve opened such incredible doors for her through your generous gifts!

For 150 years, we’ve provided exceptional pediatric care and pioneered research that has led to new treatments and cures. We’ve grown stronger with your support.