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On July 5th, Séanne's life and that of her family's came to a complete stop, recounts her dad, Stephen.
As I write, I have been at my daughter’s bedside at the Children’s for 96 days now, and for the 96th time, we did our bedtime ritual to try to bring some normality to all this craziness we’ve been living.
Looking out the window, my six-year-old wished upon a star that her disease goes away, and that the IV line and the feeding tube stop hurting. For the 96th time, my heart sank.
Have you ever felt you had absolutely no control over something? As the dad of a very sick child, I’ve been feeling powerless for the past three months. The only power I have left is sharing my story with you in the hopes that you will donate once more, because throughout my stay at this amazing hospital, I have witnessed the power of your support.
When Séanne first complained of pain in her “tummy”, we attempted to see her pediatrician but the appointments got cancelled due to Covid-19. Then her mom brought her to the local hospital where doctors didn’t detect anything worrisome. A week later, Séanne complained again. It really seemed to hurt.
It was on July 5th. That day, our lives came to a complete stop.
Within minutes of bringing my daughter to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, they ran a scan. I expected them to tell me she was constipated and leave with some sort of medication. Instead, they asked me to call mom...
How do you prepare yourself to being told that your little miss bossy pants has hepatoblastoma or liver cancer—very rare in children? And, as if it wasn’t bad enough, that the cancer is Stage 4 because it has spread to her lungs?
Within two days of her admission, they had to rush Séanne to the ICU. She couldn’t breathe anymore, the tumor was compressing her lungs. They started emergency radiotherapy to reduce its size. It worked, but not enough yet to consider a liver transplant.
Thanks to you, I get to see my kid be her mischievous self for a while because donors like you support these programs.
Throughout this storm, all you can do is rely on the experts, and on donor support. Let me tell you: your donations go way beyond allowing the Children’s staff to remain experts in their field and purchase top-notch equipment like the one that helped them catch Séanne’s cancer in time. Your donations also cover the smaller things that make a huge difference in our disrupted lives.
Like Child Life specialist Sabrina who, after overhearing Séanne begging me to stop her hair from falling out, took the initiative to show us a bald Barbie™ with her bandannas and wigs, which convinced my daughter to have her hair shaved off. Or like Pascal, the music therapist, who comes in with a cart full of instruments. You should see my child having a blast as she bangs away on all of them.
Thanks to you, I get to see my kid be her mischievous self for a while because donors like you support these programs. They not only brighten her day, but mine as well. Because, cancer is not our only issue…
There’s also Covid and the red zone restrictions which forbid Séanne from seeing anyone besides mom and I. Even her older brother and sister aren’t allowed to visit.
For some, there’s also the financial hardships. Believe me, when you stop working and start paying unforeseen expenses like parking and meals, the bills add up quickly. Thankfully, the Tiny Tim Fund, a program paid for by caring donors like you, is there to support families in dire need.
For the past 96 days, we’ve been going to war against an unpredictable enemy in the worst possible context ever. I can’t stress how grateful we are to be in the best of places, with every member of staff advocating for our child, making sure she receives urgent treatment amidst Covid-19 protocols, and helping us cope, too.
No matter the amount, trust me, your donation will matter.
Without them and without you, I honestly don’t know how we’d endure this waiting game.
As we head into the Holiday season, your generosity can provide the soothing families like mine need to get through this tough period, in the hopes that we can bring back the little brats that live inside each and everyone of our sick children. No matter the amount, trust me, your donation will matter.
Stephen, Séanne’s dad.
P.S.: There’s nothing I can do but share my story in the hopes that it inspires you to give, because throughout my stay at the Children’s, I have witnessed the power of your support. My sincerest thanks.
No child should be in the hospital, much less during the holidays. Thanks to you, families of sick children will receive the greatest gift of all: Hope that their child will have a healthy future. Double your impact: Make your donation by December 31st and it will be matched by P.K. Subban, up to a maximum of $250,000.