Moments after Davis Ward was born, he was whisked away from his parents and brought in for surgery at the Victoria General Hospital. His mother wasn’t able to hold him against her, or count his fingers and toes, or kiss the top of his head.
The unusual welcome to the world was expected by Davis’s parents, but it was heartbreaking all the same.
I would like to tell you the story of my son Ethan and how people like you have changed his life.
Ethan’s birth was a moment of pure joy. But that moment was short lived. Our beautiful baby had difficulty feeding, breathing and sleeping and had severe reflux. Doctors told us he was “failing to thrive.”
Our family spent countless hours seeing specialists. Ethan had tests and procedures, scopes and biopsies, plus two hernia repairs and his adenoids removed. We spent many sleepless nights watching over him, worrying and wondering about his future.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Program — that’s the fancy name for what has come to be known as “The Stable Program,” an alternate therapy for children who are navigating mental health challenges. The program often sees success where traditional therapies haven’t been a good match for a child.
Our preemie daughter, Kimowan, was six days old when my husband and I came to Jeneece Place. I had had a C-section and could barely walk, but I had been discharged so couldn't stay in the hospital with my daughter. We didn't know how long Kimowan was going to be in the hospital — she was only 1 lbs, 13 oz when she was born. I wanted to be by her side every minute, but we live 30 minutes from the hospital, and I couldn't drive because of complications with my C-section. I wasn't going to leave my daughter's side. I was prepared to sleep in the back of our VW Golf if I had to!
Jane Sun expected to give birth at the end of March. But instead of being born on his due date, her son Nathan was born prematurely when Jane was just 27 weeks along. Coming into the world on December 31 and weighing just 724 grams, Nathan spent several months in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at Victoria General Hospital receiving constant care to grow strong and heal from the surgeries he required because of his early arrival. Being so fragile and tiny at birth meant he needed to be tracked constantly by a sophisticated vital signs monitor.
Our schools do everything they can to meet the needs of students with health challenges. Devoted teachers stay after class to explain concepts; educational assistants work one-on-one with students; resource teachers develop learning strategies for individual needs.
But grade 12 student Geoffrey’s health challenge is beyond anything a dedicated teacher could help: his challenge is caused by the classroom itself.
Catherine was in a car accident and the impact of the collision caused damage to her brain. Through her family's love and care, and the Children's Health Foundation's (then the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children) support of the VIHA Neuropsychology Program, Catherine's recovery has been much quicker than expected.
Children's Health Foundation purchased a number of adapted bikes and trikes for the Queen Alexandra Centre's Toy and Equipment Loan Library. Learning to ride a bike is hard enough for most children. If you live with a physical disability, it can be impossible. These specially designed tricycles for children with disabilities allow children who cannot ride commercial bicycles to pedal like the wind. The bikes have brought great joy (and physical exercise!) to these young people. The bikes are considered very "cool" by all of the children and youth that use them!
Children's Health Foundation supports the Ledger House Mental Health program which provides mental health assessments for children and youth in our community who are desperately in need of this care. Ledger House's impacting work is best described in the words of a former program participant. She recently wrote: