A success story still being written
Joe was 15 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He has a vivid memory of the shock at receiving the news.
But the frustration he says inhabited him in the early days has given way to a staunch resolve to fight. “I feel empowered.”
Though blessed with a supportive circle of family and friends, Joe credits a particular group of people with putting him on the path to a normal life: the team at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Clinic – the only MS clinic in the province whose ground-breaking work is supported by donors. “Without them, the road would have been a lot harder.”
From diagnosis, treatment and psychological support to informing and reassuring anxious patients and parents: the clinic does it all.
“We’re very busy!” says Dr. Guillaume Sébire, Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurology at the Children’s. He notes a forty percent annual increase in referrals to his clinic. “The next goal is to raise funds to hire an extra nurse to help us give even better service.”
Joe remembers Christmas Day in 2015 when he suffered a relapse and Dr. Sébire, who was on vacation, called in to check on him. “He had my back,” says Joe.
Back-stopping for the clinic is Heather Davies, Advanced Practice Clinical Nurse in pediatric neurology. Whether coordinating MS patients’ appointments and care across the hospital, providing liaison with patients’ schools or simply lending an attentive ear, Heather’s on deck. “You have to follow the child through their life issues and not just the illness itself.”
Joe, now studying engineering at Concordia University, says he can scarcely imagine the last four years without the team at the MS clinic of the Children’s. “Words can’t describe how thankful I am for all of them.”