Premature Birth, Type 1 Diabetes: Holland's Story

Apr 7, 2010 at 9:46 p.m. ET

Holland's mom sums up her personality like this: strong-willed and compassionate.

It is the first trait, her strong will, that has enabled her to defy odds and become the fearless 5-year-old she is today.

Holland was born at 23 weeks gestation, weighing a startling 1 pound, 3 ounces. In her first 99 days of life, all of which were spent in the neonatal intensive care unit at The Children's Hospital at Providence, Holland underwent surgery for her heart, received multiple blood transfusions and had laser eye surgery, among other procedures.

Following her discharge from the hospital, Holland had 97 appointments in nine months, including visits to pulmonologists, cardiologists, dieticians, gastroenterologists and more.

Her battle didn't stop there. At only 2 years old, Holland was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a life-long disease. In fact, Holland is the youngest child in Alaska to have been put on an insulin pump.

Despite these challenges, Holland's smile and personality make her stand out in a crowd or on a playground, where she prefers to spend her time.

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