cmn radiothon kierstyn supergirl

Supergirl Kierstyn – A CMN Miracle

Mary Catherine Rader’s pregnancy was, by all measures, progressing very nicely. And then all of a sudden it wasn’t. On April 21, 2009, a full three months before her youngest child was due to arrive, Mary Catherine started to have contractions. While the expectant mother didn’t have any symptoms beyond the contractions, she knew something wasn’t quite right, these weren’t Braxton Hicks contractions.  Her physician followed through with their concerns using the medevac to transfer Mary Catherine from Sierra Vista Regional Health Center to Tucson Medical Center.

Supergirl arrives



Once Mary Catherine arrived at TMC, the physician placed her on an antibiotic IV immediately as a precaution. “And, because I was not symptomatic, doctors felt they had time on their side, they started to monitor the baby very closely, focused on getting four steroid shots in to me to support the baby’s lung development and to give baby a fighting chance if she did arrive.”

Results from a battery of tests the following day revealed that Mary Catherine had a bacterial infection in her uterus with possible fatal implications for both her and her child.  “Having been proactive with the antibiotic, the TMC doctor saved my life.” Mary Catherine states. The following day Kierstyn was born. Just 28 weeks gestation, Kierstyn weighed at little over two pounds. She stayed in the NICU at TMC for 62 days.

Welcoming your child into the world via the NICU it can be a particularly stressful. However, there is also something very special about the relationships forged with other parents and the NICU staff. It is evident at any of the NICU graduate picnics as families reconnect, staff and families embrace or when families come back to visit. For Mary Catherine, Kierstyn and their family these relationships have overcome time and distance.

Until a couple of years ago when they moved, the Rader family would make a special journey from Sierra Vista to Tucson to celebrate the TMC NICU staff every April around their daughter Kierstyn’s birthday. Now, separated by several thousand miles, they still reach out and connect with the NICU and Children’s Miracle Network staff, bonded forever through a challenging experience with a beautiful outcome.

Kierstyn’s mom, Mary Catherine, is quick to share not only how wonderful their experience with the NICU staff, but also gratitude for the Tucson and Southern Arizona community that rallys to support the hospital through Children’s Miracle Network raising funds for critical equipment for the hospital’s tiniest patients.

How is Kierstyn doing now?

Mary Catherine updates us on her own TMC Miracle, “Now in the second grade, Kierstyn is an exhaustive ball of energy. She enjoys swimming competitively and talks about being in the Olympics. She loves to play with friends and climbs just about everything and has done so since her hands and knees hit the floor! She also likes to make Youtube videos – her most popular being when she replaced a laptop keyboard at 6 years old.”

The community that supported Kierstyn and the Rader family continues, in turn, to benefit. Kierstyn is a wonderfully compassionate child, and routinely visits a local homeless community to give back. Mary Catherine explains. “Kierstyn was four years old when she proclaimed she wanted to help the homeless and give out hats and gloves.” Yet more impressive is that Kierstyn has maintained this for nearly four years.  “At least monthly still, Kierstyn goes to give back or just to be present among the homeless who call her their ‘little angel’.” This year, dressed in a Supergirl costume, Kierstyn ‘reverse trick or treated’ bringing food and water to the homeless.

The NICU staff made such an impact in Kierstyn’s life that she even created a teddy bear which she named ‘Vicky’ after her primary nurse. Mary Catherine closes her update with the following, “It is because of CMN and the expertise of the NICU staff that Kierstyn survives and thrives, and is able to make an indelible mark on so many. We cannot thank CMN at TMC enough!

You can help children like Kierstyn through the Children’s Miracle Network. All funds donated stay here in Southern Arizona.