Ten-year-old Drew from Niagara Falls is determined to live life to the fullest, despite his medical challenges. The first of these challenges occurred at 38 weeks of pregnancy, when his mom Leianne became concerned that she couldn’t feel Drew kicking any more.
“I knew I had to go to McMaster Children’s Hospital,” explains Leianne, who wanted to be under the care of the hospital’s interdisciplinary specialists. “My daughter had been born there a couple of years earlier and it was a great experience. That’s why we drove an hour to Hamilton instead of going to our local hospital. That decision probably saved Drew’s life.”
Leianne was admitted to the maternity ward for monitoring. The next morning, she began to experience tiny contractions. Drew’s heart rate plummeted with each contraction, only to normalize after the contraction had ended. Feeling that Drew could not withstand having his heart rate drop so low repeatedly, an emergency cesarean section was performed.
“Drew was born with Down syndrome and he spent the first seven days of his life at McMaster Children’s Hospital,” Leianne remembers. “He experienced a host of challenges in that first week, including difficulty breathing, a falling platelet count and jaundice.”
“That decision probably saved Drew’s life.”
Drew went home after being stabilized, but he would continue attending regular appointments with various teams at McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) for medical procedures and therapy. Down syndrome has caused cognitive and developmental delays, including low muscle tone that affects his speech and motor skills.
Until he reaches the age of 18, he will continue to visit various clinics at MCH, where he has made friends with many of his care providers.
Leianne is grateful for the support of donors to McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation, which positively impacts Drew’s patient experience.
“Donors are so important in helping to ensure that patients like Drew can keep receiving such amazing care.”
Drew was selected to represent McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation as the 2017 Children’s Miracle Network Champion presented by Walmart. The program unites patient ambassadors from children’s hospitals across Canada for a series of fun activities in Ottawa and Orlando, Florida.
Until June 5, proceeds from the sale of Children’s Miracle Network paper balloon icons at Walmart locations in Hamilton, St. Catharines, the Niagara Region and the store on Fairview Street in Burlington will support McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation and will help enable specialized pediatric care for patients like Drew.