Category Archives: Payton’s Playbook

Payton’s Playbook: Champions Trip Update!

Written on November 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm, by



Seeing the sights, meeting new faces, making memories.

Our Children’s Hospital of Illinois Champion Ambassador, Payton McDonald is making an unforgettable impact on his trip to Washington DC and Walt Disney World.

The first stop? Capitol Hill.

Payton, his brother Parker, mom, and dad united with 51 other Children’s Miracle Network Champions from across the nation. Together, they made stops at the White House where they met First Lady Michelle Obama. Then, on Veterans Day, the group visited Arlington National Cemetery where four Champion children were chosen to change the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Next stop: Walt Disney World!

The tour arrived just before 9pm Wednesday, to applause and cheers! Dad Rick says the reception getting off of the bus was unbelievable! From there parades, concerts, shows, and special meet and greets with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy took place. Later on, Payton and his brother Parker even got on stage with country music group Lady Antebellum.


The fun didn’t stop there. Payton did a live interview with Miss America Kira Kazantsev, and the Champions appeared as Grand Marshals in the 3 o’clock parade at Magic Kingdom.

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We’ll let Payton fill in the rest of the details when he returns—but for now he’s making his mark raising awareness for places like Children’s Hospital of Illinois!

Payton’s Playbook: D.C. Here I Come!

Written on November 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm, by

It’s almost here!  I’m flying to Washington DC as part of the Children’s Miracle Network Champions Tour, and I’m SUPER excited.

I got this neat coat in the mail too, so it’s official now!

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I wore it on my TV interview with WMBD-31 News this week.  Here’s the video:

Here’s why I’m heading to D.C:  I’m the ambassador for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois and I’m really honored.  Me, along with 52 other champion patients from across the United States are heading to Capitol Hill where we get to do some awesome activities, and meet important leaders.  I just found out this week that I’ll be meeting First Lady Michelle Obama!  I can’t believe it. I’ve seen Mrs. Obama on TV, but to meet her in person and share my story is a once in a lifetime experience.  Us champions will also head to the White House, and the National Mall—it’s gonna be a great trip!

This month is very special to me, because it’s Diabetes Awareness Month.  As a type 1 diabetes patient, it’s important that diabetes research happens, and that more people know what diabetes is.  Children’s Hospital of Illinois has helped me take care of my diabetes, and helped me adjust to a new lifestyle. The doctors and nurses helped my family adjust too.

I want people to support Children’s Hospital of Illinois because it gave me a healthy start. I’m going to share that message in Washington DC and across the nation!   

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Until then, my bags are packed! I’ll have updates on the Playbook!  D.C. here I come!


Payton Goes to Capitol Hill!

Written on October 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm, by


payton-capitol-hill-sjmc FINAL

The big trip is nearly here!

Our Children’s Hospital of Illinois Champion Ambassador 11-year-old Payton McDonald will be embarking on a national tour—raising awareness and support for our facility and the patients we serve!

In 2011, Payton of Metamora, Illinois fell into a diabetic coma. Shortly after he awoke, doctors diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes. This means Payton’s body does not produce insulin the way most do. Luckily, with the help of the Children’s Hospital Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center, Payton is living a healthy, active life.  Now, he’s working to help other kids like him do the same.

What is a Champion Ambassador? Here’s a recap:

For ONE year (from June 2014-2015) Payton has been selected to represent the Land of Lincoln, and Children’s Hospital of Illinois as the state’s champ. The honor is part of the Children’s Miracle Network of Hospitals which raises awareness and funds for 170 children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada.

Stories from a national stage:

On November ninth, Payton, along with 52 other Champions from across the nation will fly to Washington DC rallying for children’s hospitals and the great care these facilities provide. The group hopes to make stops at the White House, National Mall, the Smithsonian Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery—to name a few!

Be sure to visit Payton’s Playbook Blog for updates!

After making their mark in DC, the Children’s Miracle Network Champions are setting their sights on sunny Orlando, Florida. Next stop? Walt Disney World! There, the champions will do property tours; media interviews, and take part in a special medal ceremony—(more on this come!)

Stay connected:

Be sure to follow the journey right here on Payton’s Playbook. We’ll have the tour play-by-play from Payton, the Champion himself—as he explains WHY Children’s Hospital of Illinois changed his life. Learn about our hospital and how YOU can make a positive impact on the children we serve all at the same time.

Bon Voyage Payton! As they say at Disney…“Have a Magical Time!”

 –Yours Truly,

The Children’s Hospital Foundation Team