Caring for Kids
Last summer, James and his family had been out boating, playing and enjoying the nice weather, when he suddenly started to feel unwell. Later that day, he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer in the blood and bone marrow, and was immediately given a blood and platelet transfusion. He then began chemotherapy.
Two weeks into his treatment, James developed a severe inflammation of the intestines called typhlitis. He wasn’t able to eat, drink, get out of bed or sit up on his own due to the pain. He spent 6 weeks in the hospital as a result, but recovered enough to continue treatment.
James had numerous hospital stays and visits to the oncology unit. His parents, Gillian and Eoghan, attribute the Children’s Hospital Foundations’s Child Life program as playing an important role in helping him through it.
The Child Life program helps kids like James cope with uncertainties during their treatment. A series of specialists share resources with kids and families to help them deal with stress and anxiety, and spend time with kids whose families can’t be there with them. This proved especially valuable during the restrictive pandemic.
James was provided with positivity, support and a safe space where he could just be a kid. His favourite was music therapy, where he sang, played a drum, used a shaker, etc. It was the first time his parents saw him smile since being diagnosed.
As James reaches milestones in his treatment, he is given new bravery beads to add to his special cord – a new one for each significant moment like going for chemotherapy, getting blood drawn or having surgery.
James has done well with his chemotherapy since recovering from typhlitis, and this spring will move forward with more intense chemotherapy to maintenance chemotherapy until November 2023.
Gillian and Eoghan remain grateful for the way that HSC helped them, providing James with the best possible care during a very difficult time.
Donations to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba through the ‘Caring For Kids’ program can help to ensure quality care can continue for kids like James.
To learn more about how you can help the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, visit their website.