Spirit of Giving

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Friends Asking Friends – Together We Can Make A Difference.

IMG_0056We spent many days and many hours in the IWK Health Centre’s NICU, surrounded by an incredible team of nurses, doctors, social workers, etc.  We were included on our girl’s daily rounds, we were taught how to show our love to babies that were in incubators, on ventilators, with oxygen probes, feeding tubes, IV’s, and heart rate monitors.  We were taught how to change diapers on such tiny little bums.  We experienced one of the most precious moments of a parent’s life in the NICU…kangaroo care.

We spent 124 days at the IWK, the first two weeks I was on strict bed rest, the next month felt like a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.  We prayed every day that someday we could take our girls home…Someday never came…on our 124th day, we left the hospital with only one baby carrier.

IMG_9388We left the IWK feeling incredibly empty.  Lost.  Broken-hearted.  But at the same time, we felt gratitude.  Love. Thankful.  Our loss will never be forgotten, just as the support and care we received during a most difficult time will never be forgotten.

The IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica, which takes place on Telethon Sunday every year, was created to commemorate our daughter and at the same time show our gratitude for the care we received for our girls at the IWK and also the support to myself and my husband after our daughter passed away.  In 5 years we raised over $95,000, with every year growing exponentially.  This money was raised several different ways, but the easiest and most significant way was through the IWK’s online fundraising tool – Friends Asking Friends.

IMG_9502Friends Asking Friends allows you to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Telethon for Children. By creating a personal page with our story and pictures through this free site, I was able to share my fundraising goals on social media and email it to friends and family from away who were unable to participate at the event. The more personal your page is, the more you will touch people’s hearts which ultimately helps raise vital dollars to ensure maritime families receive world class specialized care.  Please help support this year’s IWK Telethon for Children and create your own personal fundraising page through the Friends Asking Friends website.  You will be surprised how easy it is, and how quickly your goals will be reached!

For more information on the IWK 5K – In Memory of Jessica please visit their Facebook page or contact Jenn Manuel at iwk5kinmemoryofjessica@gmail.com

Click here for details on how to create your own personal fundraising page for the IWK Foundation. 

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Introducing Kendra and Kinsey!

Hi, I’m Kendra!  Hi, I’m Kinsey!

We’re really excited to be the IWK Superstar Club ambassadors.  We’ve spent a lot of time at the IWK.

Kendra and Kinsey Fader

Kendra and Kinsey Fader

We were born three months early and couldn’t even breathe on our own.  Our mom told us about how the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) doctors and nurses at the IWK worked hard, for almost five months, to get us healthy enough to go home.  After that, we still had lots of doctor’s appointments, lots of surgeries and lots of hospital stays.  Kendra even had to be tube fed 18 hours every day, by a feeding pump she wore in a lady bug backpack, until she was almost four years old!

Today, we’re five years old – almost six!  We just started Grade 1.  We still have lots of regular doctor’s appointments at the IWK, but that’s ok, we don’t mind going there.  We have so many friends there.  Everybody is so nice and they are always happy to see us and tell us how much we’re growing.

Since the IWK has done so much for us and other kids, we like to help them out.  We have been happy to share our story, do our own fundraising, make paintings for donors and even give our own thank you speech to some people that donated money.

By being ongoing monthly donors, our family is also a proud part of the IWK Superstar Club too.  Our mom and dad have told us that by donating money every month and sharing our story, we are helping babies, kids and families who are at the IWK now, get better faster.  The money we give every month helps the hospital buy newer equipment, like ventilators and feeding pumps that are better than the ones we had.  This is our way of helping to make the IWK even better for kids and families in the future.

Will you help us help the IWK by joining the Superstar Club?  We promise you won’t regret it!

Kendra and Kinsey

Learn more about the IWK Foundation.

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The IWK has become like a second home to our family.

Laura Fader is the mom of two identical twin girls, Kinsey and Kendra, who are patients of the IWK Health Centre , a highly-specialized health care facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

My identical twins, Kinsey and Kendra, are very excited to be the Change Bandit Heroes leading the Halifax IWK Radiothon this year.

Kendra & Kinsey Fader, Change Bandit Heroes.

Kendra & Kinsey Fader with the Sr. Primary Change Bandits at Sacred Heart Academy.

Over the last five years the IWK has become like a second home to our family. Kinsey and Kendra were born 3 months premature. At just 1lb 8oz and 2lbs, they were on ventilators in NICU at the IWK for four long months. The girls suffered from kidney failure, degrees of heart failure, premature lung disease and retinopathy of prematurity. Kendra, underwent heart surgery while still 2lbs and Kinsey, laser eye surgery to narrowly escape blindness. At times, it was uncertain if they would even survive and if they did, the degree of life-long impairments we might be left with.

After the girls were released from NICU, Kendra was home no more than a week before being re-admitted to the IWK for severe GI problems. Over the course of the next three years, Kendra would go on to require numerous inpatient stays and surgeries, feeding tubes in her stomach and intestines and feedings by a pump 19 hours a day. To date, Kendra has had 14 surgeries, the feeding tube removed from her intestines and now eats a normal diet.

Last year, Kinsey was diagnosed with very mild Autism Spectrum Disorder and completed the EIBI treatment program offered by the IWK. She has made huge gains and responded very well to this excellent program. She also visits the ENT clinic every two months for a minor procedure and takes medication to control seizures that were determined to be happening in her sleep.

We are so thankful for all the support and guidance the staff of the IWK has shown us over the years. They have been there every step of the way and have shown us how to be the kind of parents our special kids needed us to be.

Today, Kinsey and Kendra are thriving. They are very happy, active students in Senior Primary at Sacred Heart School Halifax. The school has been very supportive of our girls. They have eagerly embraced the Change Bandits campaign again this year as a means of demonstrating support for the girls and developing social awareness among their students.

Here is Kendra Fader’s story that aired during last year’s IWK Radiothon on C100FM.

Register today to become an IWK Change Bandit in Halifax, Saint John, Moncton or Charlottetown.

Donate to the IWK Radiothon on C100 FM.

Tune in to C100FM on February 1, 2013 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. as we broadcast live from the IWK Health Centre for the 12th Annual IWK Radiothon.

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Feel Good Friday

Carla Adams is a Manager of Marketing & Communications at the IWK Foundation.

Young Riley in his incubator in the NICU at the IWK Health Centre.

We often talk about how the IWK serves families from the Maritimes, “and beyond”.   It’s a little-known fact that several families from Bermuda are flown to the IWK each year; the majority of cases involve pre-term deliveries or high-risk pregnancies.

In July, I met a lovely couple from Bermuda, Densil and Jennell, who were anxious to return home with their baby, Riley, after a few weeks at the IWK.

Riley’s entry into the world was a rocky one.  At nearly 34 weeks, Jennell’s blood pressure sky–rocketed and she was sent to the hospital immediately by her family doctor in Bermuda.  The situation was urgent – Jennell was whisked to the operating room for an emergency C-section to save the baby.   Riley needed to be resuscitated and was put on a ventilator right away.

But the trauma didn’t end there.  As Jennell was being wheeled back to her room, she began having seizures and losing blood.   Her husband, Densil, didn’t realize it had happened.

Densil and Jennell look lovingly at their son.

“Densil returned to the ward with his overnight bag and saw the trail of blood leading back to the critical care room and they wouldn’t let him in and wouldn’t tell him anything,” said Jennell. “He was very afraid he was going to lose me.  When I came to, he was standing over my bed and told me very firmly, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again’.”

The next day, Jennell began seizing again.  She was taken back into surgery where doctors removed a hematoma and repair a torn muscle.

Just a day later, Densil and Riley were airlifted to the IWK – where Riley was treated by several Neonatologists.  Jennell spent a week recovering and then flew to Halifax to see her new baby.

All turned out well, and the family returned home to Bermuda.  “They made every effort to get us home before Cup Match [a national holiday centred around cricket, one of Bermuda’s most popular sports], said Jennell. “We’d like to say hello and thank you to the incredible nurses and doctors who took care of our son.”

Make a gift to the IWK Health Centre Foundation. 

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Feel Good Friday

It’s time for another Feel Good Friday blog post. We love receiving letters from our IWK families about what the IWK means to them. Today’s letter is from Lana Benoit and Gene Costard, from Prince Edward Island.

Alcide enjoying the backyard pool this past summer.

Our son Alcide was born at the IWK on March 23, 2010. He was 3lbs 10 oz. We had an Inner Uterine Growth Restriction, while still in the Uterus. Once born, by C-Section, it was discovered that Alcide had Vacterl Association.The doctors had told us that the first 24 hrs were going to be longest and hardest because they weren’t sure if he was going to make it throughout the night. However Alcide proved them wrong, and at two days old he had his first two surgeries one for a Imperforate Anus and the other a Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula.

We spent six weeks in the NICU before getting transferred back to PEI. We spent another two weeks at the QEH in Charlottetown, when we were finally able to take Alcide home at a whooping 4lbs 7oz.

At 11 months old, Alcide was supposed to undergo a Tethered Spinal Cord Repair. However, on the day of the surgery it was discovered that he was in chronic kidney failure and his surgery was cancelled. His kidneys were functioning at less then 18% , he was almost in complete renal failure. Alcide was to be started on a treatment that day. He had Renal Tubular Acidosis Type 4 (RTA4) . He responded well to treatment, and a week later was again sent home. Nearly a year later, the spinal surgery was set again. This time it  awas done successfully. Alcide continues to be followed by doctors there. We are currently awaiting a date for his final surgery called Pollicization. I am so pleased to say that Alcide is doing amazing and is a normal two year old boy. He continues to amaze me everyday. He is my hero and is truly a  miracle.

There really isn’t a way to say thank you for everything that the IWK has done for us. Without this hospital, our son wouldn’t  be here today. We are beyond grateful for the amazing doctors and the wonderful nurses. Thank you all so much for everything. The IWK isn’t a Hospital its like a home to us. With the doctors and Nurses like family.

Lana Benoit, Gene and Alcide Costard

Thank you Lana and Gene for sharing your story with us. If you have an IWK story that you’d like to share with us, please email us at foundationmail@iwk.nshealth.ca. We’d love to hear from you.