Madison Austin, the 4-year-old Athens girl who became an internet sensation earlier this year after dancing the “Hokey Pokey” with her HSHS St. John’s Hospital nurses, was given the hospital’s Patient of the Year award during a ceremony Tuesday night.
Madison was in the hospital in February when her mother, Krista, posted a video of the girl leading the dance from her bed. The video was featured on newscasts across the country. The “Hokey Pokey” became a daily ritual in Madison’s room in the pediatric intensive care unit.
She did a repeat performance of the dance Tuesday night at the hospital’s Colleague Service Awards ceremony held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in downtown Springfield.
Madison was born with a condition called Neuronal Migration Disorder, and as a result, has small, narrow airways. She breathes with the help of a tracheostomy tube and is very susceptible to infections.
“She’s pretty special. She’s impacted a lot of lives, and she’s very deserving,” said Natalie Serra, a St. John’s Children’s Hospital nurse who appeared in the viral video and attended the award ceremony Tuesday night. “… It’s really nice to be able to see her do it when she’s not in the hospital.”