Sioux Falls, SD
Playing outside with her parents and little brother, Collins Kassin is just like any other happy 4-year-old.
But once you step inside for the night, things get a little more intense for this tiny girl.
Collins, from Vermillion, S.D., was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just 12 days old.
Since that day, the Kassin family has been creating their own “normal.” While that includes trips to the park and seeing the animals at the zoo, it also means Collins has to take medicine before she eats anything.
She is also strapped into a bright pink high-frequency chest wall oscillation vest every morning and every night. The vest helps break up mucus in her lungs and keeps her from choking on the fluid.
Even though her parents know the treatment is good for her, it’s still hard to watch their little girl go through it.
“It breaks your heart every time,” Collins’ father, Chris, said. “Even as somebody who knows this is good for her. You want to trade places with her. You wish it was you.”
Through Collins' journey with cystic fibrosis, the Kassin family has been thankful to have such incredible care close to home.
“I feel like we have had so much support and just knowing that the programs are so close to home,” Collins' mom, Katie, said. “We know that if something serious were to happen, such as being in the hospital for a long period of time, we would have support from Sanford Children's Miracle Network when we need it.”
With that comfort and security, the family knows they’re going to be just fine with their tough little girl.
“She’s the bravest, strongest person I know, and will continue to be that way,” Chris said.