A young Okotokian has been named the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation's 2024 Champion.

Claire Sonnenberg, and eight-year-old Dr. Morris Gibson student who has cerebral palsy, will be the foundation's ambassador this year, representing over 10,000 kids the hospital provides care for each year.

Her mother Stephanie says when she and Claire were approached with the offer, she knew Claire would be perfect for the role.

"Claire is amazing, she is unstoppable, she defies all odds and shows the world what she can do. You see her and she can't move very much but she has the biggest smile. You go beyond her disability and this girl is so smart and so bright. She shows the world what she can do and what other kids like her can do."

Last year, Claire was an ambassador for the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Lottery, which funded Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology in 2023.

For a few years now, Claire has been making use of BCI and a Trexo walker to perform feats previously thought to be impossible for her to accomplish.

"She has recently hit 300,000 steps. So, from being told she'd never walk, this girl walks a marathon every day. That's our big piece of equipment she uses every day. She also has a technology called BCI. Because Claire can't use her arms and legs to play, she wears a headset that reads her brain waves and connects to signals that makes things work. So, she can play video games, she can shoot a water gun. Anything with power, she can control with her mind."

As the foundation's Champion, Claire's infectious smile will start popping up all over the place.

"Claire will be on posters, you're going to see her in Walmart on some postings, and she will be at events. Anything that the Children's Hospital might be throwing, Claire will be there, and her story will be told. You'll see a lot of Claire this year," says Stephanie.

She says Claire couldn't have made this kind of progress without support from the hospital, which in itself relies on the community's support.

"Our hospital, we really rely on community support and it's amazing to live in such a fantastic community where everybody comes together for these kids and gives them the world. It means a lot to families like mine."

You can see what Claire has been up to lately on her Instagram page.