The announcement of the 2024 Champion Child marks the first time they're from a remote northern First Nations community. 

When Janessa Dumas Colomb was six years old, she was diagnosed with kidney failure which led to a kidney transplant when she was 12. 

The 15-year-old told her story at the Agowiidiwinan Centre, at the Forks Thursday morning sharing how she experienced recurrent urinary tract infections. Doctors at HSC told her family that her kidneys were not performing correctly, one was small and one was diseased. With 25 percent kidney function at the age of seven, her parents moved the family 800 kilometers from their community of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Pukatawagan to Winnipeg to get the specialized pediatric care that was needed. 

“I am very excited to be selected as the Champion for my Children’s Hospital. I am ready to share my story to help in a good way so other kids like me get the same great care that I had,” says Janessa.

“We are so pleased to have Janessa represent the many children who need our Children’s Hospital. She has shown great resilience in her health journey and willingness to help others,” says Stefano Grande, President & CEO of Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. “Children from all our communities represent gifts of the present and future. Janessa is an example of how when we provide the best healthcare to kids, and help them thrive, we can give better futures.”

“Janessa represents the best of who we are as Manitobans,” says Premier Wab Kinew. “By sharing her story of resilience with people across our province, she is helping us build a better future and live up to the belief that every child matters.”

“By choosing Janessa, we illuminate the health challenges and barriers faced by children in Manitoba's remote and isolated communities, an effort that has not been undertaken in our history. Janessa breaks some important ground as our Champion Child as she adds very meaningful and needed representation of the many children we care for. We at the Children’s Hospital Foundation are grateful to her and her family for taking on the role this year,” says Grande.

She now joins a group of children and youth ambassadors from across North America who support their local children's hospitals. The Canadian Champion program is part of Children’s Miracle Network, one of the signature Canada’s Children’s Hospitals Foundations (CCHF) programs.

Janessa takes the reigns from Pacey Wall, the 2023 Champion Child to help raise funds for other kids needing kidney care at Manitoba's Children's Hospital.