Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Meagan's Walk

Last year, as I've talked about in great detail, many of our friends entered the world of parenthood. Last April my friend gave birth to her first child, a little boy named Emmett.   After a remarkably uneventful pregnancy and a straightforward home birth they were ready for an equally smooth transition into their new lives as parents.  Sometimes an event that takes just a minute can change a lot in your life.  Below is a story about friends of ours and their new Mother's Day tradition inspired by one of those minutes.

Within a few days after Emmett was born it became apparent that something was wrong.  Their son was born with Esophageal Atresia with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TEF). In short, his mouth pipe didn't connect to his stomach pipe. Only a few days after he was born he underwent surgery to connect the pipes.

As new parents they essentially moved into Sick Kids hospital where they hunkered down for Emmett's recovery, all while learning how to cope with parenthood and deal with everything that had just happened.

After a successful surgery they set to work getting Emmett to take milk (an excruciatingly slow process). They soon realized that they would be celebrating Gwen's first Mother's Day at Sick Kids. As the day approached they were confronted with bittersweet emotions. The love and support of friends and family helped, but most parents don't envision celebrating their first Mother's Day inside a hospital.

Meaghan's Walk, Sick Kids, Mother's Day Tradition
Emmett Celebrating his first birthday last month.

When Mother's Day came they were both feeling pretty low. As they sat in Emmett's room an announcement was made that all parents and kids who were able should gather at the exterior windows at 11:45 a.m. for the end of Meagan's Walk.  Welcoming the distraction they bundled up Emmett and wheeled his IV/feeding pole down with them to the atrium windows.

They watched as the street below was filled with people in Meagan's Walk t-shirts. Adults and children, many from inside Sick Kid's who could make it outside, stretched as far to each side of the hospital as they could see. It felt as if everyone on the street was looking directly up at their family.

At 11:45AM. everyone below joined hands, took several steps backwards, then wrapped the hospital in an enormous hug. Instantly, they felt a rush of calm for the first time since Emmett became a Sick Kid. Waving to everyone below, it was impossible not to feel hopeful -the participants seemed to know how much everyone in that hospital needed love on Mother's Day.

It was that moment when they decided to join Meagan's Walk. Both feel that this is something that really makes a difference for parents who find themselves scared and uncertain how things will go for their child, no matter their reason for being a Sick Kid. A "hug of hope" goes a long way.  They are thrilled that this year the entire family (Emmett included), along with some of their friends, will be walking as "Doc and the McFlys" in the hopes that their love and participation will help and comfort others in the way they were.

The money raised from Meagan's Walk goes towards the Meagan Bebenek Endowment Fund and awareness, research and treatment of paediatric brain tumours at Sick Kids.

If you would like to support Doc and the McFlys, they would greatly appreciate your donation.

You can see where your donations go here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing why we're walking, appreciate it!