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Labor of love: Toddler with heart defect helps with hospital con - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Labor of love: Toddler with heart defect helps with hospital construction

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

A three-year old that has struggled to stay alive since she was born got a little break from the doctors this week.

Instead, Aubrie Hope Hughes was put in charge of construction of the new Children's Hospital going up in Colorado Springs.

This is part of GE Johnson's Kid of the Quarter program to support the new hospital being built at the Memorial North location. It gives kids an opportunity to be a part of the construction, while also giving the workers a face and name to remind them of why they're building.

She might be the smallest worker on site.

"Are you excited? Is this gonna be a fun adventure?" Mandy Hughes, Aubrie's mother asked as she was loaded into a golf cart on the construction site.

She got her own hardhat, glasses and safety vest, fit for the new girl in charge.

Three-year-old Aubrie Hope Hughes has spent most of her life fighting to stay alive.

"She was born with half of a heart," Hughes said. "When she was 26 days old, she had her first open heart surgery and after that, things went downhill."

She's gone through eleven surgeries, three of them open heart with the scar to prove it and her journey with Children's Hospital doctors is not over yet.

Her mother Mandy says she'll eventually need a heart transplant.

"She's definitely a walking miracle, especially after everything that she's been through, we're just grateful that we get to have her," Hughes said.

That's why construction workers at the new Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs are hoping to give her and her family a little break.

"Makes you realize what the important things are in life and when you see these little ones come through here, it just lifts your heart beyond belief to see the joy in their eyes even though they're going though such tremendous challenges everyday," Dave Kenney, senior superintendent on the Children's Hospital project said.

Her picture and story will remain staked out in the heart of the multimillion dollar construction site all quarter long to serve as a daily reminder for workers like Kenney.

"It makes everything we have to do seem so much easier when we know who we're doing it for," he said.

Leaving their hearts full at the end of each day.

"The smiles is why we're here, I mean that's why we're building this thing is so we keep smiles like that," Josh Crippen, a superintendent for Olson Plumbing and Heating said.

A day at the hospital without the doctors, the needles, the hospital gowns.

"It's actually really neat to come see the guys here who are building it, it's pretty neat to see everything that's put into it," Hughes said.

And the best part?

"Driving around," Aubrie said.

Aubrie still has a long journey ahead with doctors at the Children's Hospital in Denver. She will undergo her 12th surgery on Thursday to get her G-tube removed.

The Kid of the Quarter is sponsored by a different contractor every few months to support construction of the new Children's Hospital, set to open in April of 2019.

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