Kathy Nakashima’s Letter: The Children’s will always be a part of our family’s story

It started when our newly adopted baby son, Justin, began tilting his head to one side.

Months later, we were devastated to learn that he had a rare combination of degenerative neurological diseases which included leukodystrophy, a condition that destroys white matter in the brain. His condition would lead to quadriplegia and an inability to eat. It was incurable and terminal.

Fortunately, the Montreal Children’s Hospital welcomed us with open arms. For Justin, there was a caring team of over 15 medical professionals to manage his complex needs with expertise and sensitivity. For our family, there was constant support, even a psychologist for Justin’s older brother, Jordan, who was on this journey with him.

We are grateful the Children’s was there when we needed it. We know that the devoted medical team gave Justin the best paediatric care available, anywhere.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital has been caring for children since 1904. It is known for delivering the best patient, family-centred care in Canada. As the pediatric teaching hospital of McGill University, it trains the next generations of medical talent. It is also research-driven with the unique ability to do on-site clinical trials. And because the Children’s shares a campus with an adult hospital, it transitions pediatric to adult care in ways other hospitals cannot. It is a gem in our midst.

What does the future hold?

The Children’s uses the most innovative equipment and treatments to save and improve young lives. However, staying at the forefront of innovation is challenging. Offering the best care for each child goes beyond government support.

In many ways, it is up to us. How can we ensure this very special hospital continues to save and improve young lives in the future?

A simple way is to include the Children’s Foundation in your estate plans. This is what our family has done. While we are happy to give now, we will also provide support through a gift in our wills. The Children’s will always be a part of our family’s story.

With broken hearts, we lost Justin on August 14, 2009, at the tender age of six.

We are forever grateful for the six years the Children’s gave us with our beautiful son. Those years were memorable for Justin’s love, courage and smiles, which touched everyone he knew. His story continues because a neurology resident who treated Justin, Dr. Geneviève Bernard, is now an internationally acclaimed expert doing ground-breaking research to identify the genetic origin of leukodystrophy. Her fervent desire is to prevent it from happening to other children in the future.

We cannot say enough about this amazing hospital, and we want it to be there for others in the future. It fulfills us to know that our gift of future assets will help young patients for decades to come. An estate gift of any size allows you to walk right beside vulnerable children and their families, who will turn to the Children’s in the future.

Perhaps you would also consider a gift from your estate to benefit the Children’s Foundation. It is a deeply personal way to ensure that all children get the best chance to grow and live their best life. They deserve nothing less!

Katrin Nakashima