Tysen's Mission to a Million

Every once in a while we hear about great kids doing great things. These are the inspiring stories of young entrepreneurs and activists, and can make us stand up and pay attention. But even rarer are the stories about super, awesome, AMAZING kids doing unbelievable things - the kind of things that make us both cry and laugh. That's how I felt when I started reading about Tysen's Mission. When Tysen was born he was diagnosed with Pieffers Syndrom Type 2, and had his first surgery at just nine days old.  Since then he has had more than 20 trips to the OR, at both CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) and Sick Kids in Toronto.  As Tysen's Mom wrote to me in an email:

"This has never stopped our little man from looking at life in a positive way and wanting to help others.  I know that every mom is proud of their children as they should, but I consider myself extra lucky to be blessed with an amazing kid who reminds us every day that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff!"

In November of 2012 Make-A-Wish granted Tysen’s wish to meet Adam Sandler.  The trip was game changer for Tysen, and he still dreams of his special day with his man Adam!  When Tysen found out he was going to be granted a wish, he decided he wanted to ‘pay if forward’ and wanted to raise money for Make-a-Wish.  But instead of raising a few thousand dollars, Tysen decided that he wanted to raise 1 million dollars for Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario - enough money to ensure that 100 other local children get their wish granted.

With help from Make-a-Wish, he  launched Tysen’s Mission to a Million, and has already raised over $190,000. You can follow him and the wishes he adopts on his Facebook page. His first anniversary for this mission is October 29th, and he hopes to reach $200,000 by then!


Want to help Tysen on his mission? Until November 1st, you can donate $5 via text. Simply text "Wish" to 45678, and help him reach 200k!

Cheo moms and dads

by Lara Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

As parents in Ottawa I don't think many of us don't have a lot appreciation for CHEO.  The staff is amazing, caring and the way they deal with my children when we have to go in always amazes me.


When CHEO approached me to be a contributor on their new parenting blog I was thrilled to be a part of it.  Creating community online is one of my passions.  Creating a space where parents can talk about parenting connected to our children's hospital - win!

My first post is up today.  Go and check it out and say hello to some of the other new bloggers.

And if you're visiting from the CHEO blog - welcome! Have a look around, we talk about everything from activities for kids, to food to crafts to parenting tips and we're happy to have you!



Enhanced by Zemanta

Being prepared for a visit to the CHEO ER

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

by Vicky

I'm writing this post praying that you never, ever have to use the Emergency Room at CHEO. But if you find yourself in a time when you do need to make a trip, as I did twice in one week recently, I hope you'll find some of these tips useful.

My 5 year old son Joel suffers from asthma, and we've made a few trips to CHEO since he was born. When the temperature spiked to 43 degrees with the humidex recently, he was struggling so much to breathe. I watched him an hour in the morning, and seeing that his breathing was not improving with his inhaler, it was off to CHEO we went.

In our situation, I had time to gather a few things to take with me, and to drop off my daughter at the sitter's. If you do have time to grab a few things, here's what I recommend you stuff your purse with as you head out the door:

- cell phone and/or ipad (and chargers!)
- bottle of water/juice box -snacks (for you and your child)
-colouring book, crayons, note paper
-small cars, teddy bear or other toy to keep them distracted
-candy or suckers if you have any
-your child's health card
-toonies and loonies if you have any

Tip #1 - Take your parking ticket with you, and put it in your wallet. If you are in the waiting room for a long time, you will be pulling things out of your bag and it could get lost in the shuffle.

Tip #2 - When you first arrive, have your health card in your hand. You will be greeted by very friendly nurses in triage who will assess your child and send you to registration. We were moved into our own room very quickly because of the severity of Joel's asthma. Every nurse and health care professional we saw were exceptionally friendly and amazing with Joel.

Tip #3 - You can order food for your child from your room. Joel was kept in observation for 6 hours while we waited for the medication to take effect. We were in our room through lunch and dinner. You can ask for a menu for your child, and they can choose anything they want from it. Joel had spaghetti and jello for lunch, and a few snacks later on in the afternoon.

Tip #4 - The main cafeteria closes at 1:00pm. There is a smaller shop that sells pizza, subs and coffee that is open later. However, if you are alone with your child, as I was, unless they feel comfortable being left alone for a few minutes while you run down the hall, then you'll be hungry. There are vending machines in the main waiting room that take only toonies and loonies.


Tip #5 - Keep your child calm and entertained with play I cannot say enough good things about the Child Life service at CHEO. Child life specialists are professionals trained in areas of child development, play and the psychosocial needs of children and families. Aside from preparing and support children and youth during medical tests and procedures, they also have toys, activities for children to play with as well as DVDs to keep them distracted during their stay. Joel played for a long time with a 20 questions toy, stickers and some colouring books.


Tip #6 - Play is a great distraction There are lots of learning and play opportunities in an emergency room. Joel kept himself busy with post it notes, stickers, toy cars, rubber gloves, medical masks and even those little black things the doctor uses to check our ears! He pretended to be Dr. Joel giving me a check up.

After 6 hours, Joel's asthma was under control and we were on our way back home. He's doing great now!

We are so fortunate to have access to such a great facility in Ottawa. I am so thankful for CHEO and the amazing care they provided to my son. Go show your support and give them a shoutout on Twitter and follow them on Facebook!

Vicky is mom to a 5 year old named Joel and 3 year old daughter named Mieka. She is also a Play Stylist with Peekaboo Beans and an occasional teacher. To find out more visit her site at www.pbstylist.com .

Enhanced by Zemanta

Surviving Surgery

by Amanda Frightening words that no parent wants to hear:  “Your child needs surgery.”  The immediate thought afterwards is “What if he/she doesn't wake up?”  To put the life of your child in another person's, a veritable stranger's, hands is an emotional mountain to overcome.

My son had eye surgery this past September at CHEO.  They have an amazing Day Surgery Unit team.  The hospital staff are what make the difference in providing that reassurance to the parents and to help them cope.  They are extremely organized and experienced.  Along the way they offer several opportunities for you to ask questions.

Word of advice:  write your questions down.  When you are under pressure or experiencing anxiety, you may forget something that is important to you.  There is always a preoperative appointment with the surgeon, you meet with the nurse the day of to take vital signs, they are a good source of information and reassurance.  There is a nurse who explains directly to the child using pictures and dolls exactly what will happen leading up to the surgery.  This piece is the most valuable for my son; he was included in every step. The staff at the hospital made the effort to speak directly to him, call him by name, and make every effort to make him comfortable with the whole process.   The doctors are an important piece of the equation.  They talk fast, but when were heading to the operating room, they introduced themselves, their specialty and the role they would play during the surgery.  They spoke to my son, asked him if he had any questions and answered him in a way he could understand.  In my son's case he had two anaesthesiologists in the room as well as his opthalmologist who would be performing the surgery.  He wouldn't walk with me to the operating room.  He wanted to walk with the doctors because they had blue pyjamas on, just like him.  Way to break a mother's heart!  Post surgery, there are two nurses in attendance in the recovery room to monitor his vital signs and make sure things go as they should after surgery.

I was not feeling nervous until the day of the surgery.  And then I didn't sleep, worried about whether or not he would wake up from anaesthesia.  The fear of the unknown is the worst kind.  I know, in theory, how things work and that this is a very common surgery that is done routinely.  This brought no comfort to me on that day.  Coping with the feelings and anxiety is half the battle.  It is very natural to want to avoid putting your child in that situation, but in the end the risks really are very small if your child is healthy and the surgery is relatively minor. My best advice to any parent is to not go it alone.  My husband was with me the majority of the time, he did have to leave to go to work while he was still in the operating room, but I still had his support, and he had mine.  Bring your spouse, partner, co-parent, a friend or family member.  Typically, you are only allowed two adults present the day of the surgery, no siblings.

Forty-five minutes when your child is under the knife, is an eternity.  Your eyes can hardly leave the clock.  Your mind tries to push it to go faster which is irrational but an uncontrollable reflex.  I was in the waiting room for ten minutes by myself when the surgeon appeared, stated the surgery went as planned, my son did extremely well, and he was sleeping it off in recovery.  I have never felt such relief, it flooded every part of me and I would have fallen if I had not been sitting down.

As for my son, he had it easy.  He slept through the whole thing, and as soon as he woke up there were offerings of juice and popsicles (he ate two!), and a movie to watch.  They called me as soon as he was awake, so for him, it was like I never left his side.  He even realized that daddy was missing and asked where he was.  He spent an hour under observation in the Day Surgery Unit and then were were able to go home.  Children are resilient.  I believe they cope better than we adults do.  Ignorance can be bliss, and it's better that way for a child.  I would rather suffer the trauma than him.


Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son "J". Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.