- Our patients, our heroes
Our patients, our heroes
Every child who walks into The Children’s has a story to tell. Some of these brave, hopeful kids have shared theirs with us below. Reading them, it’s hard not to be touched by the courage these children display – although they are still kids at heart, in many ways they are every bit as tough as the most heroic grown-up. Not every story gets a happy ending, but with help from people like you The Children’s is able to give more kids longer, healthier and happier childhoods. Thank you for your support!
Massimo Mini’s birth left his parents torn
between joy and utter dismay: just two hours
after their baby came into the world, Natacha
Persopoulos and Claudio Mini learned that he
had a congenital heart malformation known as
“transposition of the great arteries.” Simply
put, his aorta and pulmonary arteries were
reversed, resulting in an inability of his heart
to provide oxygenated blood.
When 16-year-old Yehonatan Naidich began
sensing pains in his left leg, the otherwise
healthy young athlete tried to put it out of
his mind. But as the pain grew more intense,
he could no longer bear it. On one occasion,
while on a trip to the US with his family,
Yehonatan suffered an episode of pure
agony while his family watched in shock.
“It was incredibly hard,” remembers his father,
Arthur. “He generally has a high tolerance
for pain so we knew this was serious.”
Nine-year-old David darts from the dining
room table where his mom and dad, Tina
and Franco, and his sisters, 15-year-old Elisa
and 17-year-old Julia had gathered. The boy
speeds back moments later with a laptop.
David, his smiling face flush with excitement,
is anxious to show pictures on the laptop that
tell his story – pictures of him in hospital last
year following craniofacial surgery.
When Arielle was born, her mother, Caterina,
noticed something was wrong. Arielle’s lovely
little face looked crooked. Part of Arielle’s skull
was flat while another area was alarmingly bumpy.
As she grew, it seemed to be getting worse.
If there is one thing Claudia Martino is not
interested in, it’s pity. She fought cancer at
the age of four, and then again at the age of 11.
She acknowledges there were rough patches,
but her path has been one of strength and
Mary Rea received the worst call of her life on
Christmas Eve in 2009—her husband Mike had
just found their 10-year-old athletic daughter
Laura unconscious at the base of a tree, which
she had hit while downhill skiing.
When two-year-old Vincent’s mom brought him to The Children’s with horrible stomach pains, nothing could have prepared the single mother for what would happen next. Within 10 minutes, her only child was undergoing rounds of tests. After an overnight stay, she learned that Vincent had an advanced and very rare form of cancerous tumour in his liver. It was the size of a football and had already spread to his lungs.
My name is Cédrik. I am 14 years old and in grade 8 at Collège Ste-Anne de Lachine. I like to snowboard, eat pizza, and play Xbox. I am sharing my story to help kids like me, who are fighting cancer or other illnesses. On February 9, 2011, my mom took me to the hospital because my bladder was obstructed. I was in so much pain. Doctors did an ultrasound and decided to send me to The Montreal Children's Hospital immediately. I didn’t know what was wrong and I was very scared.
The first year of a child’s life is without a doubt a period of great vulnerability. However, as you will read in the following story, newborns can also show incredible resilience, sometimes even against all odds. Born on December 1, 2009, Stefano Ruvo was transferred to The Children’s at three days of age when doctors saw that he couldn’t breathe on his own. After undergoing extensive tests, Stefano was diagnosed with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS), a rare condition of the central nervous system.
Jeffrey Mylocopos is ten years old and in grade five. Like most other kids his age, he enjoys playing hockey and video games. Recently though, Jeffrey has learned a critical skill that few children his age have: how to listen to his heart - literally. Since November 2010, Jeffrey has found himself at The Children’s on three separate occasions due to a dangerously high heart rate. Now, his first defence against the problem is his own vigilance.
Jade was born in Val d’Or on April 17, 2007. Everything seemed normal, and within minutes of a cesarean delivery, mother Stéphanie cradled her newborn in her arms. The pediatrician, however, noticed the baby’s bluish complexion. She was immediately placed in an incubator to increase her oxygen supply but her condition hardly improved. Tests showed that her lungs were normal. But what about her little heart? The results of an echocardiogram marked the beginning of their ordeal.
Dr. Turcotte realized that another surgery would be necessary. Toni had her operation on July 2 at The Children's, and is currently recovering.
On February 19, 2009, Toni happily heads off to school. During recess, she is pushed by a classmate, falls and hurts her knee. She hobbles home. This would be the beginning of quite an ordeal…
Emilie first “blacked out” during a boat ride with her family. The short trip from St-Jean-Port-Joli to the casino in Charlevoix would eventually take them on a totally unexpected course.
As they sailed towards Charlevoix, Ann Dignard noticed that her daughter’s eyes seemed to roll upward in their sockets. “All we could see was the white of her eyes, then she lost contact with reality briefly,” relates Ann. This occurred four times that very same day.
In 1999, when he was just four years old, Marc Normandeau was diagnosed with leukemia. He underwent treatments at The Children’s and recovered quickly. Until March 2008, he had been in remission and in perfect health for nine years. While Marc and his family were on vacation in Disney World, Marc became sick. He felt very tired and weak. His parents feared the worst. They brought him to the nearest pediatric hospital, where it was confirmed that, sadly, Marc’s cancer had returned.
No one could have predicted that -Mackenzie, with her boundless energy, would be faced with the daily challenge of living with Type 1 diabetes from the tender age of 4. This is the story of a delightful child who is facing life with wisdom and courage…
Five-year-old Jacob was not always a Spiderman fan. His adoration for the superhero began only moments before undergoing his first brain surgery, which would last nearly 12 hours. Before he entered the operating room, his doctors gave him the nickname Spiderman because, as they explained to Jacob, he was "as strong as Spiderman, maybe even stronger!"
On the evening of May 29, 2007, 14-year-old Frédéric Lamarche headed out on his scooter to pick up a friend. He never arrived. Almost two weeks later, Frédéric woke up in the Intensive Care Unit at The Montreal Children's Hospital…
At 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Cindy Lambert’s doctor prescribed some medicine for her unusually high blood pressure. At 29 weeks, she continued to have dangerously high blood pressure and an ultra-sound revealed that her baby was less than two pounds. The baby was underdeveloped because it was not receiving the necessary nutrients. Cindy’s umbilical vessels were constricted, causing the baby’s malnutrition, as well as her high blood pressure. Her doctor warned her that either she or her baby would die unless they performed a cesarean section as soon as possible.
When children and young adolescents are faced with the challenges of chronic and life-threatening illness, they not only tackle the physical and emotional suffering that accompanies their struggle, they also deal with having to miss some of what should be the most formative years of their life.
Steven was just one month old when his parents learned about the disease that would necessitate many follow-ups at the Children’s. When he was five years old, two optic gliomas were detected, for which he received daily injections for four years. Since then, two brain tumours were detected…
By the age of 12 months, Lukas couldn’t sit up. He didn’t crawl, walk or talk. Lukas’ pediatrician referred him to the Child Development Program at The Montreal Children’s Hospital. Worry crept into Lukas’ parents’ lives.
Émilie was born on March 8, 2000. Full of life, Émilie was a sociable, healthy little girl; she slept well, loved to dance and have fun. Suddenly, in the summer of 2003, she began vomiting more and more often. Thinking their daughter had a food allergy, Émilie’s parents took her to the doctor. In the fall, when the frequency of the vomiting became alarming, the young girl’s pediatrician detected pressure behind her eyes. He immediately sent Émilie for tests at the Children’s.
Beginning with his first visit to the Children’s on December 12, 2003, a great and long adventure began for Xavier. Because he was an ideal candidate for the BAHA, Dr. Daniel proposed installing the prosthetic in one of his ears. To do this, he had to wait until Xavier’s skull was sufficiently developed.