SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Six-year-old Madison Austin is never short on smiles.
But every laugh — every word — is a blessing to her mother, Krista.
"Words I never thought I would hear: if Madison doesn't get a [tracheal tube], she will have about a month to live," Krista said holding back tears.
Madison was born with a birth defect requiring the tracheal tube to breathe. She's been in and out of the hospital for the past six years.
But this hospital trip is different.
"I got teary-eyed when they said she was champion child," Krista Austin said.
Madison is a champion child for Children's Miracle Network. She will serve as the face of HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital at various charity events and in marketing materials.
But this isn't about becoming a face — but rather becoming a voice.
"For all that she's been through, to say that she's a champion is true," Krista said.
At this point, Madison is still just enjoying the ride — and the hokey pokey dances at the hospital.
"This is great," Madison said with a giggle. "It is just great."