Monday, 2 May 2016

Meagan's Walk 2016 - A Mother's Day Tradition

A few weeks ago, while at a children's birthday party, it really hit me how lucky we all are.  As I sat back and watched the excitement build in a room full of pre-schoolers as they hit a giant pinata, hoping that they'd be the one to release the cornucopia of sweets all over the floor I couldn't help but smile.  At the centre of the crowd, with a focus, hand eye coordination and brute force that would rival many kids twice his age was Birthday Boy, Emmett, determined to get his hands on the candy....cause what's better than candy when you're three?

Dad & Emmett at the 2014 Meagan's Walk

Emmett's Story

Just three years ago, in April 2013, my friends had their first child, the above mentioned candy loving little slugger named Emmett.   After a remarkably uneventful pregnancy and a straightforward home birth, everyone was ready for an equally smooth transition into their new lives as parents.  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.  A few days after he was born he underwent surgery to connect the pipes.

As new parents they essentially moved into Sick Kids hospital waiting and hoping 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.

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 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, an annual tradition that they (alongside Emmett) have participated in for two, going on three, years now.

Doc and the McFlys at the 2015 Meagan's Walk

About the 2015 Walk

Each year, shortly after Emmett's birthday, the entire family (Emmett included), along with some of their friends, walk Meagan's Walk as "Doc and the McFlys" in the hope that their love and participation helped and comforted others as they'd been.  Highlights from last year's Meagan's Walk include:

  • In 2015, we were part of 4,000 participants who helped Megan's Walk raise over $530,000 for SickKids.
  • Team Doc and the McFlys raised $720 in 2015.
  • It was a gorgeous day for the walk and we all got a little sunburned, what with forgetting what the sun looked liked over the winter.
  • Standing strong as a family in the hug around the hospital. 

What's in Store for the 2016 Walk

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.

This year Doc and the McFlys have set their sights high and are aiming for $2000 in total donations.

If you would like to support Doc and the McFlys on their third year of an annual Mother's Day Tradition (this year held on Saturday May 7th), they would greatly appreciate your donation: click here.

To learn more about Meagan's Walk click here.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!

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  1. Thank you for the support, Sara!

  2. Thank you for the support, Sara!