(WTOL) - Mercy Children's Hospital has helped 14-year-old Emily Deatrick and her family both emotionally and with medical care not once, but twice.
Emily is much like any other 14-year-old girl. With her hair curled and freshly applied make up, she shares her passion for cheerleading and riding her horse.
But this story is 6 years in the making. Emily was only 8 years old when she got so sick, her parents rushed her to the hospital.
Her blood sugar level was through the roof. The diagnosis: diabetes, a disease she would need to manage the rest of her life.
"I have to test about four times a day, sometimes more. I have to put it in my pump and it delivers me insulin," Emily said.
She's grown up fast, learning to manage her diabetes with insulin and a healthy diet. But she's still a kid.
"I try to be mature and I take care of it, but some days I just don't like it," Emily said.
It takes a whole network to get the disease under control. But having Emily's back is a no-brainer for a close-knit family.
The challenges, however, include teaching this teenager that she needs to be regimented about her treatment and diet.
"It's been very difficult dealing with not just the disease, but getting her to understand that if she doesn't take care of it and test, get all her carbs, her sugars, that's basically what the insulin goes off of, the carbs that she eats, the things that can happen to the rest of the parts of her body if she doesn't do that," said Emily's dad Bill.
Which is where Mercy Children's Hospital comes in. If the family has Emily's back, the hospital has the family's.
"They're amazing. They're very supportive. They'll answer any questions. They'll sit down and take the time to talk to you, 'cause we didn't know what to expect," said Emily's mom Sue.
She says the hospital's care spans years, medicine and emotional support from the night 8-year-old Emily first arrived to attending a special summer camp for diabetic teens.
And the result of this full-service care?
"My friend inspired me to try out for cheer. And I did and I made it. I loved it. I love cheer," Emily said.
Mercy Children's Hospital's hasn't only treated Emily's diabetes. Emily, her sister, and brother also survived a car crash after their SUV slipped on black ice.
"I swallowed my heart a couple of times that night. When I got the phone call and when I saw the vehicle from the damage," Bill said.
When their car crashed into a tree, ambulances rushed Emily and her siblings to Mercy Children's Hospital. But the staff didn't just help heal wounds.
"One of my favorite nurses brought my sister a birthday cake, because she knew it was my sister's birthday the day after the accident," Emily said.
More than a hospital, the Deatricks say Mercy Children's Hospital has been a life saver.
"Without Mercy Children's, I wouldn't be able to become a cheerleader or ride my horse," Emily said.
"I'm definitely sure that she would have never made it if it hadn't been for Mercy," Bill said.
On two occasions, Mercy Children's Hospital has given the Deatrick family not one, but two chances to be whole, and for Emily to have a shot at life.
Don't forget to tune into WTOL 11 April 12 for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon.