CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- “This is iconic,” said Erin Chandler, the assistant director of development for the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.

A UVA pediatrics patient has been recognized as a Children’s Miracle Network National Champion.

This is the first time any child has been recognized for this in the state of Virginia.

Kahmari Riedl says when he found out, he was shocked.

“Crying like crazy and really excited,” he said.

An opportunity like this lets this 13-year-old share his story and help more kids at UVA Children’s Hospital.

“He represented us on a local level throughout the entirety of 2022,” said Chandler.

“I wouldn’t be here right now if UVA hadn’t helped me come home,” Riedl said.

Riedl is one of 10 children who represent Children’s Miracle Network this year and has the opportunity to raise funds for UVA Children’s Hospital and put UVA Health on the map. 

Since the age of three, he has been in and out of hospitals for his diagnosis of short gut syndrome, a condition that affects his small intestine.

“You know we ask a lot of our families, especially in kids with short gut syndrome,” said Dr. Jeremy Middleton, a UVA pediatric gastroenterologist.

This diagnosis means a lot of medicine, blood work, and a lot of time in the hospital, which can be difficult and takes a resilient family.

“There’s probably a no better example than the Riedl family when thinking about that," Middleton added.

Middleton says he has been lucky to have formed such a great relationship with Riedl and thinks he represents everything UVA Children’s stands for.

“You know, there are really three main qualities when I think about, you know resilience and grit, which Kahmari has a ton of. And then charm, which he has a ton of as well,” Middleton said.

Riedl's story is helping to raise awareness and money to continue efforts to help children.

“Being a Children’s Miracle Network hospital gives us the opportunity to have fundraising programs with local and national partners meaning that if you were to go into our local 7-Eleven and fundraise and round up, that money’s going to go directly to our children’s hospital,” Chandler said.

Riedl will be appearing on billboards across the United States and Canada for brands like Delta Airlines, Sam’s Club, 7-Eleven, Walmart, and many other large corporations.