A new home for young kidney patients

A new home for young kidney patients

It all started when Tim and Charlotte Blevins of Cambridge took their daughters to a pig roast for Thanksgiving in 2011. Little did they know that their nine-year-old daughter, Kayla, would soon be fighting for her life. Four days after the pig roast, Kayla became so ill that her parents took her to the local hospital in Guelph.

As Kayla’s condition continued to worsen, she was transferred to McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) and placed under the care of Dr. Steven Arora. MCH is the only place in south-central Ontario where pediatric patients with kidney disorders, such as chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury, and those who require dialysis, are treated.

Kayla was experiencing kidney failure due to a severe E. coli infection and was put on life-saving dialysis. A shunt was placed into her neck to deliver the dialysis during her two-and-a-half-week stay before being discharged just in time to celebrate her tenth birthday at home.

“We know what a difference these new facilities will make.”

Grateful for the care Kayla received, Tim and Charlotte committed to raising $650,000 to redevelop the Nephrology Clinic.

“The Caring for Little Kidneys Campaign was established by Charlotte and I to provide the best environment and equipment for the many children that will need the same treatment as our daughter,” says Tim. “While Kayla only had to spend a few weeks on dialysis, many children are not as lucky. We know what a difference these new facilities will make.

Thanks to the generosity of the Blevins, McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation celebrated the opening of the redeveloped Nephrology Clinic on July 28, 2017.

Upgrades to the clinic have been made to enhance the patient experience. The new clinic has three customized treatment areas, all containing age-appropriate toys and electronics that keep patients occupied during their treatment. The rooms are colourful and adorned with a building-block theme, creating a bright and fun environment. The clinic can accommodate patients in a hospital bed or wheelchair.

“As the only hospital that provides dialysis for children in our region, the new Nephrology Clinic allows McMaster Children’s Hospital to provide world-class expertise in a purpose built environment,” says Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, president of MCH. “The Blevins’ support has made it possible for children and youth to receive life-saving care in an environment that elevates the patient experience, accommodates caregivers and gives staff twice as much room to deliver care.”

McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation is tremendously thankful to the Blevins family, as well as all supporters of the Caring for Little Kidneys campaign.

“The new Nephrology Clinic is only possible thanks to the generous support of Tim and Charlotte Blevins,” says Pearl Veenema, President & CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation. “Their gifts and event proceeds provided 100 per cent of the funds required to build the new clinic. They are passionate members of our donor community who have gone above and beyond to give back to McMaster Children’s Hospital.”