How a credit union saved a girl from unfriendly butterflies

Malia called them unfriendly butterflies. In reality, they were winged infusion sets, or butterfly needles, that were part of Malia’s treatment for a rare bleeding disorder.

When Malia was just a few months old her mother noticed how sensitive she was both physically and emotionally. She would develop bruises after even the slightest bump. Eventually, Malia’s doctor sent her to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she received a diagnosis of Von Willebrand Disease. This condition prevents the blood from clotting and nearly claimed Malia’s life after a traumatic bleeding episode.

Sandy Neves, Malia’s grandmother, and emeritus CEO of Fitzsimons Credit Union in Aurora, CO, is no stranger to children’s hospitals. In addition to Malia, Sandy’s nephew was also treated at Children’s Hospitals Colorado for severe burns. It’s because of them that Sandy has been so committed to raising funds for Credit Unions for Kids.

She is so committed to helping out that she is making a $25,000 donation to Children’s Hospital Colorado upon her retirement from the credit union.

“I’m donating this money because this is the legacy I want to leave behind in hopes of raising awareness for Credit Unions for Kids,” Sandy said. “It’s my hope that other credit unions will see the vital need children’s hospitals have for donations and step up to fundraise for their local hospital.”

While CEO of Fitzsimons Credit Union, Sandy was a champion for fundraising for the local hospital. She and her husband also continue to support the hospital individually.

Now in her second year of college at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Malia is studying to become a nurse. In fact, she’s doing so well in school that her professors are encouraging her to become a doctor. She no longer fears the butterfly needles and continues to persevere despite her disorder.

“Now, I just look at that butterfly needle as a small simple thing.  It can be scary and sometimes painful, but in the end it’s just a butterfly.”

Sandy Neves, left, with granddaughter Malia, right, at Malia’s high school graduation

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