Year Honored: 

Crista was born prematurely at 28 weeks and her only saving grace at birth was her body temperature.

Her traumatic birth resulted in 13 minutes of CPR before being placed on a ventilator and spending the next 84 days fighting for her life in the NICU and fighting to become stronger. Doctors haven't been able to pinpoint what led to the premature birth, but she left the hospital with a host of diagnoses and the list has only grown as she's aged.

Some of Crista's more prevalent diagnoses include cerebral palsy, ligament laxity, hip dysplasia, neuromuscular scoliosis, physical and oral apraxia, sleep and behavioral disorders, ADHD, and developmental delays. All of these make life and daily tasks difficult for Crista, and unfortunately some of them are progressive. The perfect storm of CP, ligament laxity, and behavioral disorder have resulted in 11 broken bones in 14 years.

Despite all of this, though, Crista is a happy, funny, and sweet young lady. Her loving nature makes her very empathetic, compassionate, and kind to all people. She's never met a stranger! She loves to make people proud and it's her driving force most days when she has to work and would rather be doing anything but. A majority of Crista's expressive language is through sign language; however, her eyes tell a bigger story. They shine brightly with happiness, humor, and love, but they also portray a deep sadness, hurt, and sometimes longing for more. She's a thrill seeker, who loves roller coasters, but she also loves just being present with the people she loves-no activity required-she just wants them near. Crista is as much a blessing to others as others have been to her.