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Panda Express celebrates with CHKD’s 2020 Champion, Julian!

Julian, 9, was a toddler when doctors at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, diagnosed him with glycogen storage disease – a rare genetic disorder that impairs the function of the liver and muscles. As a result, Julian endures constant muscle pain and fatigue.

On Thursday, Julian visited with Panda Express on Battlefield Boulevard in Chesapeake, celebrating the $140,000+ raised by Panda Express Restaurants in Hampton Roads in 2019! The funds raised locally benefit Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, to ensure kids like Julian receive the care they need.

Every day, it’s a race against the clock to keep his blood sugar within a safe range. At age 6, he needed a gastrostomy tube to help with his constant feedings. For a kid who already felt so different than all his friends, the procedure brought on anxiety and depression.

His parents turned to CHKD’s mental health program for help. Here, he’s learned coping mechanisms for what he describes as his “really bad days.” Going for a walk, taking a bath, and listening to music are some of his strategies. Today, Julian also takes medication to lower his anxiety level.

Despite the pain and challenge of living with glycogen storage disease, Julian always finds the strength to keep fighting.

Panda Express General Manager, Ilaisa Sablay, presented Julian with a medal recognizing him as CHKD’s 2020 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) Champion, where he’ll represent CHKD during 2020 CMNH fundraising campaigns.