Trauma survivor takes victory lap around Children’s

When she was 2 years old, Joelle “Toot” Curry was accidentally shot in the abdomen when a firearm held by a family member went off. She was not expected to survive, but on May 26, she defied the odds and walked across the mezzanine on the second floor of Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Cheering her on were her surgeon, Dr. Robyn Hatley, and the teams of healthcare workers who cared for her from the traumatic event through her recovery and rehabilitation. The event was named “Toot’s Victory Lap.”

“She’s a miracle. She’s a miracle child,” said Renee McCabe, a trauma program manager who coordinated the event. “We didn’t think she was going to survive, but you all played a part of that on her team. We’re so grateful for that.”

Hatley and Toot’s occupational therapist, Alyssa Bryant, crowned her “Queen Toot” before helping the now 5-year-old stand and walk across the floor toward Nugget, the Child Life therapy dog who happily wagged her tail as she waited.

In celebrating Toot, the event illustrated how the talent and teamwork of trauma units come together to help trauma patients not only survive, but thrive, McCabe said.

“We have the most comprehensive trauma center here for both adult and pediatric. And the Children’s Hospital of Georgia is one of only two pediatric trauma centers verified by the American College of Surgeons in this entire state,” she said.

About the author

Lisa Kaylor

Lisa Kaylor is the Lead Communications and Media Coordinator for AU Health. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-5292 or