A teenager and patient at McMaster Children’s Hospital got a very special gift this holiday season.
15-year old Victoria has had a tracheostomy tube since she was four months old. Now that she’s an an energetic teen, she’s looking to become more independent. And that means mastering the fine balance of spending time with friends on her own and being safe with her tracheostomy.
Knowing Victoria had always wanted a doll that looked like her, respiratory therapist, Cindy Brennan, reached out to child life specialist, Heather Hardy, to see if they could create something special for their patient. The two collaborated to adapt a storebought doll, giving her a real tracheostomy tube. They packaged the doll up with supplies so that Victoria wouldn’t just have a mini-me, she’d have an opportunity to practise caring for her tracheostomy.
The look on Victoria’s face when she received the doll says it all. Heather and Cindy were overwhelmed by her reaction, along with the community response their kind gesture has received.