50 Photos That Will Make Your Heart Melt

I have a soft spot for children's hospitals. For more than 10 years, they've supplied me with info on their survival rates, success at performing complex procedures, and innovations for a story that ranked the best of the best. But as I interviewed families, it became abundantly clear that the hospitals not only cared for the kids' medical needs, they went the extra mile to make sure their little patients (and their parents) were in a good spot emotionally too. Many of the pictures in the 2015 Children's Hospital Association photo exhibit capture those moments. Parents Photo Director Lily Alt served as one of the judges. Take a look at three of our favorites below and spin through all 50 here.

Courtesy of John Maniaci

Austin rides his Big Wheel through the halls at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. When a bone marrow transplant didn't cure his acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he qualified for a research study that injected lab-engineered cells to attack the cancer. (Emma Whitehead, featured in this Parents story last year, was the first child to receive this treatment.) Nine months later, Austin is cancer-free.

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Alexandra, a patient at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, rocks the superhero costume while starring in a video that teaches kids and parents more about what to expect when their child undergoes anesthesia.

Courtesy of Allen Kramer

You may have read about these conjoined twins, Knatalye and Adeline Mata, at Texas Children's Hospital. About six weeks ago, they were successfully separated in an 18-hour surgery. "We are so grateful to all of the surgeons and everyone who cared for our daughters and gave them the incredible chance to live separate lives," says their mom, Elysse. "We know how much planning and time went into this surgery and we are so blessed to be at a place like Texas Children's where we have access to the surgeons and caretakers that have made this dream a reality."

Photos courtesy: John Maniaci, American Family Children's Hospital; Julie Stefaniak, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo; and Allen Kramer, Texas Children's Hospital

Karen Cicero is contributing editor at Parents. Follow her on Twitter @karencicero.

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