Meet Izzy: Our 2021 Champion Child

Champion Child: IzzyIt was 2007, and Daisy and Sam Mirzaei were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child. But what should have been a joyous time was interrupted when they learned their daughter would be born with a life-threatening blood disorder called beta thalassemia major.

“She wasn’t even here yet when she was diagnosed,” Daisy says reflecting back on those dark days. “Our hearts just dropped into our stomachs when we realized we could lose our daughter. I still tear up thinking about it.”

Also known as Cooley’s Anemia, the severe condition is marked by red blood cells’ inability to form properly, therefore being unable to carry sufficient oxygen to support normal body function.

As health care professionals themselves, Daisy and Sam both were acutely aware of the journey Izzy was to embark on. They also knew the consequences and risks. Regular blood transfusions and extensive, ongoing medical care would be required almost immediately following Izzy’s birth to ensure her survival.

Fortunately, Hasbro Children’s Hospital was with them every step of the way.

At just one-month, Izzy made her first visit to our hematology/oncology center, The Tomorrow Fund Clinic. And at 11 months old, she had her first blood transfusion. For close to the next decade, Izzy would repeat this transfusion every three or four weeks, while also receiving other types of care.

By 2018, Izzy became a good candidate for a bone marrow/stem cell transplant and, that September with her sister Lillian as the donor, she underwent the procedure at another hospital.

The surgery was successful and, today, Izzy’s care has been scaled back to an annual follow-up, allowing her to spend her time just being a happy-go-lucky kid. She enjoys reading, ballet, watching Marvel movies, and playing with her sisters.

Although Izzy’s road to good health hasn’t been an easy one, she’s risen to every challenge with a positive attitude and fighter’s spirit. Demonstrating such attributes in the face of adversity makes Izzy special – and is one reason she is Hasbro Children’s “Champion Child” for 2021. As such, she’ll spend the next year as an ambassador for our hospital and all the young patients we care for.

“I’ve been going to Hasbro Children’s since before I could remember,” Izzy says with a huge smile. “Everyone is so nice and there is a lot you get to do, like arts and crafts and playing with therapy dogs. They do everything they can to make you feel like you’re a kid.”

Mom also shares strong feelings. “My daughter has such a bright future ahead of her now because of the people at Hasbro Children’s Hospital,” says Daisy. “They became our second family – we were definitely in this together, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”