Sharing William’s Surgery Story Continues To Have A Positive Impact!

Today I received an email from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Pre-Admission Clinic in Edmonton which really touched my heart and made my day, below is part of the email:

“First of all, thank you for taking the time to create a book on the cardiac journey that William and your family embarked on in February, 2016.  I just wanted you to know that the book has been most useful to the parents of the children that also required open heart surgery.  The book has also been very useful for the nurses to use as a teaching tool.  So thank you for creating the book. 
We would like to order more of these books with your permission, but need some of the details of how to go about ordering and the cost.  I am hoping that we would be able to get funding to create more books and to be able to give the books to the families that would like to keep one.”
Lillian (Clinical Nurse Practitioner Stollery Children’s Hospital) 
This email is a reminder of the impact that sharing our experiences, even difficult ones can have on other people going through something similar. I will never forget the day I met Charlotte and Jason for coffee to talk about what they had gone through with their son’s heart surgeries  and  travelling to Edmonton for the surgeries. We talked about everything from open heart surgery, The Stollery Children’s Hospital, costs, accommodations to recovery afterwards. When they asked me if I wanted to see a picture of their son after his surgery I wasn’t sure I wanted to.  I knew I needed to so I could better prepare myself for what William would go through. I don’t know if they know how much that coffee meant to me! I felt much more prepared because they took the time to meet with me and share. They were there for me in a way that no one else could be unless they are a Heart Family! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You inspired me to share William’s story with others to be able to help support them in the same way you did for me. I feel honored to be able to continue to support the Stollery Children’s Hospital with these books of William’s surgery and recovery!
“Everything you do has some effect, some impact” Dalai Lama

Mending Little Hearts Fund Logo Approved Today!

A very exciting day for Saskatchewan Pediatric Cardiology! The logo for the Mending Little Hearts Fund of Saskatchewan designed by Giles Woodward and his team from Two Six Creative and Studio Woodward was approved today! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for donating your time and the logo design to Pediatric Cardiology!

Photo Below: Pediatric Cardiologists- Dr. Tim Bradley, Dr. Scott Pharis, Dr. Ashok Kakadekar, Dr. Charissa Pockett, Giles Woodward, Corey Tomczak, Lynne Teffler and Juanita Praksas

The Mending Little Hearts Fund of Saskatchewan was recently created because of the need to support the families who have children with congenital heart disease. This fund is overseen by the pediatric cardiology department based at the Royal University Hospital and they provide care to children all across Saskatchewan. This department currently has over two thousand patient visits a year and is operating under-resourced in comparison to all other pediatric cardiology programs across Western Canada.  This fund helps support families right here in Saskatchewan.

As a parent of a four-year-old boy that had open heart surgery February 10th 2016, I am proud to be a part of this project and to work with Giles on it. Many of us see the need and demand for the Mending Little Hearts Fund of Saskatchewan. William’s surgery was in Edmonton but all appointments prior to and following the surgery are in Saskatoon. You can read more on my blog about our journey.

When you make a donation to the Mending Little Hearts Fund of Saskatchewan, you would be providing funds to support the following identified needs:

-IPADS and toys for each room to help keep the children happy and distracted while all their tests are being done, this can take up to a couple hours. This is so important because when William had the first ultrasound of his heart, he was scared and got really upset.  He then would not stay still and needed to be sedated. If there were toys and other items that could be used to distract him that would have been helpful and maybe he would have not needed to be sedated. We then had to watch him through the night and wake him every hour so that he didn’t sleep to deeply. He got really sick and was out of sorts for 24 hours after being sedated.

– Help fund the CHAMPS camp held in Saskatoon for children ages 7-15 years old from all over Saskatchewan with congenital heart defects.  It is so important that children are able to socialize with other kids who have been through the same or similar experiences as them. The camp provides education about nutrition and physical activity for children with heart conditions.

-Blankets and Blanket Warmers- Children, especially infants can get cold during tests and this would help to keep them warm and more comfortable.

-Family Travel Expenses- It cost our family over $5000.00 to go to Edmonton for William’s open heart surgery and that amount doesn’t take into account loss of pay for taking time off for his recovery, holding his daycare spot, counselling appointment costs for PTSD, etc. For many families, the cost of having a child with a heart problem is significant and can affect the whole family for many years.

-Phone Cards-  These are so parents and caregivers can connect with family and friends for support when they have to travel elsewhere for their child’s surgery or are at appointments and do not have a cellphone

-Travel costs to get to appointments- Some families can not afford to pay for cabs or public transit to get to appointments

These are just a few examples of how your donations will have a tremendous impact on children and families going through significant struggles coping with their child’s heart condition.

You can donate now through link below:

Stay tuned for more information on the Mending Little Hearts Fund as well as fundraisers that are happening!

Give A Gift From The Heart This Holiday Season

Certain dates mean something to each of us. December 1st will always remind me of the first time I had to leave William to be put to sleep for his first MRI. He was screaming mom and I just had to walk away down the long hallway and through the swinging doors. Once you go through the swinging doors you can’t go back unless you are buzzed back in. It was so hard to take every step away from him. I wanted to just hold him until he was asleep. William’s MRI was what fast tracked his open heart surgery in February 2016 and everything that followed.

When I look at him this morning I am so grateful for how well he is doing and that they were able to repair his heart with no adverse side effects. He will be able to enjoy this holiday season unlike some other children that will be in the hospital receiving care for their heart condition! The Pediatric Cardiology Department in Saskatoon has amazing staff and I am so grateful to be able to continue to help support them however I can. There is a Saskatchewan Children’s Heart Fund (Mending Little Hearts) set up through the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan so this holiday season when you are thinking of giving back please consider donating to this fund. Donations can be made through the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan and support children right here in Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan Children’s Heart Fund  #1 – 345 Third Avenue S  Saskatoon, SK  S7K 1M6

Here is a great article on some of the great things that the Pediatric Cardiology Department are doing:

Thank you for your support and happy holiday season!