Jacob Malouin, a real life hero

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!"

Since then, Jacob has looked up to the comic-book hero. Jacob, however, is a real-life hero. For over a year now, he has fought more courageously than anyone could ever imagine. Jacob's battle began when a CT-scan at The Children's revealed every parent's worst nightmare: a tumour in his brainstem. Within days, Jacob was hospitalized and preparing for brain surgery.

"I was in pure disbelief, we were caught off-guard," recalls Jacob's mother Véronique Boisvert. There were very few signs that could have prepared them for this fate. Jacob appeared to be in perfect health. It was thanks to Jacob's aunt, who noticed that one of his eyes would occasionally shake, that they alerted their pediatrician, who then referred them to The Children's.

Jacob's surgery was performed by a team of three doctors: Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer, Neurosurgeon and Surgeon-in-Chief at The Children's, Dr. Jeffrey Atkinson and Dr. Abdul Raham Sabbagh. They successfully removed half of the benign tumour without any permanent side effects, the greatest risk of such a delicate surgery. "Dr. Farmer is remarkable, he means so much to me and my husband, and my son loves him!" says Véronique. Nevertheless, Jacob's recovery was still painstaking. He had trouble walking and adjusting, and remained in hospital for ten days. Three months later, the team performed a second surgery and successfully removed half of the remaining tumour. Once again, Jacob was fortunate enough to recover without any major side effects.

The tumour is now one-quarter of its original size, and because it is benign and not growing, Jacob remains healthy. He does all the regular things a boy his age enjoys, like playing hockey with his dad, playing video games, and being a devoted Spiderman fan! Since there is still a risk that the tumour will start growing in the future, Jacob will continue to be monitored closely at The Children's with MRIs to ensure that any change in his condition is observed as early as possible.

"It's obvious that nurses at the Hospital love their job," explains Véronique. "Even though you are going through something terrible, they make it better." In apreciation of the great care they received, and to help raise funds for the purchase of an Intra-Operative MRI, Jacob's family are now sharing their story. Jacob's parents are also planning their first fundraiser, a bowling event (one of Jacob's favourite sports!) also in support of the purchase of the Intra-Operative MRI. "We just want to be able to help another family like ours," says Véronique. And thanks to the Foundation's many loyal donors, numerous young patients like Jacob can count on state-of-the-art medical equipment and receive the best possible care so they and their families can face some of life's greatest challenges.

© 2018 The Montreal
Children’s Hospital Foundation

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