Duluth girl is Shriners’ Hero of the Month

Maria Berner, 13, was chosen as Kids Wish Network’s Hero of the Month from Shriners Hospitals for Children-Twin Cities for her positive attitude and willingness to succeed despite the difficult times she is facing.

At 11 months old, a bump was discovered on her leg, which led to the diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

Mariah went through more than nine months of chemotherapy, but at the age of 2 1/2, her leg had to be amputated. Mariah has been cancer-free for more than 11 years and her mom, Laurie Berner of Duluth, said she is doing well. All of her prosthetic care has been done at Shriners. The staff nominated Mariah for their December Hero of the Month.

The program is sponsored through national charity Kids Wish Network and it recognizes children between the ages of 3 and 18 who do not have a life-threatening illness but have faced difficult or tragic times and shown bravery or great strength. With the award, Mariah was given a certificate of honor, a T-shirt, a medal and a $400 Wal-Mart gift card.

Kids Wish Network’s Hero of the Month Program was designed to help little heroes who have had to face some of life’s unfortunate experiences. These children do not have life-threatening illnesses, but rather face some very sad or extraordinary circumstances. These children must be in residence or have been treated through one of the Hero facilities nationwide. If you know of a hospital, program or facility that may benefit from our Hero of the Month program, please call (888) 918-9004.

Duluth News Tribune
Duluth, Minnesota
Published: 02/14/10


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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.