First Lady visits Children's National Medical Center - December 22, 2009

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  First Lady visits Children's National Medical Center
December 22, 2009

In a tradition dating back to Bess Truman, Michelle Obama visits patients during holiday season

Washington, DC—First Lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Malia and Sasha, along with dog Bo, visited patients and staff at Children's National Medical Center on Tuesday, December 22.

Mrs. Obama toured the Heart and Kidney Unit, where she met patients and families, as well as doctors and nurses. Following the tour, Mrs. Obama toured more areas of the hospital and arrived in the main Atrium, where she was greeted by many patients, families and staff.

In the Atrium, Mrs. Obama read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. Once she was finished, Malia and Sasha read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. The CAFÉ (Cultural Academy for Excellence) steel drum band played festive music and provided entertainment for the children. 

Two long-time patients, Taylor Buckles, 8, from Stafford, Va., and Michael DeMaio, 13, from Severna Park, Md., escorted Mrs. Obama. Taylor has been treated in the comprehensive Spina Bifida Clinic for a tumor on her spinal cord. Michael is being treated by the Brain Tumor Institute for a brain tumor. Michael also spent his first week of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's National.

“It's been a longstanding tradition for First Ladies to visit the nation's children's hospital and we're pleased that Mrs. Obama has continued to bring joy to our patients and staff,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, Executive Vice President and Chief Government and External Affairs Officer at Children's National.

Mrs. Obama's visit to Children's National is a tradition of First Ladies that dates back to Bess Truman. Children's National Medical Center is located less than 4 miles from the White House.

Related links: Contact: Emily Dammeyer/Paula Darte: 202-476-4500.


About Children's National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children's has been serving the nation's children for more than 135 years. Children's National is proudly ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in America by US News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit

Patient Escorts

Taylor Buckles, 8
Taylor is an active second grader from Stafford, Va. She is treated in Children’s comprehensive Spina Bifida Clinic When she was 3, she was diagnosed with a benign tumor at the base of her spinal cord that is enmeshed in her nerve roots. Taylor began to lose function in her right leg, bladder and bowel and underwent surgery to remove 60 percent of the tumor. She had another surgery two years later. Without surgery, Taylor would eventually lose all function from the waist down, but the surgeries have also caused complications for Taylor, including some loss of function. She is treated in the comprehensive Spina Bifida Clinic.

She and her family have a long history with Children’s National Medical Center. In 2004, Taylor’s twin sisters, Erin and Jade, who were born conjoined at the abdomen, were successfully separated in a 6-hour surgery.

Taylor is a voracious reader and is currently making her way through the Harry Potter series. She also loves to swim and hopes to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up.

Michael DeMaio, 13
Michael is an eighth grader from Severna Park, Md. He is no stranger to Children’s National Medical Center, having spent his first week of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In fact, he had his first surgery at just 5 days old, when he had a shunt placed to treat hydrocephalus. In 2008, Michael began chemotherapy for an inoperable tectal plate glioma, a rare brain tumor. He is treated through the Brain Tumor Institute at Children's National.

Michael has a twin brother and two sisters. He is an avid sports fan, and counts the Boston Celtics as his favorite. He loves music and plays the saxophone and the piano. Michael recently completed his Make-A-Wish to be the voice of a character in an animated movie at DreamWorks Studios in Los Angeles.

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