When Addison was in the ICU, there were many long days when we didn’t know if she would be able to come home. But when she made it through the worst of the roller coaster ride, Aaron and I promised each other we would do everything we could to help other families and raise awareness about organ donation.
Through our jobs as reporters at Global BC, we know the people at the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation very well. Every year, Aaron and I would interview families around BC to air on the Miracle Weekend telethon. Well, now we are one of those families being interviewed to help raise money for a new hospital. This afternoon, we met up with a production crew to tell Addison’s story. The video will air at the Crystal Ball, BCCHF annual black-tie gala.
The producer wanted us to talk about how important a brand-new hospital will be for BC’s children. Now we know exactly why a new facility is so necessary. While all the staff who looked after Addison were amazing, the physical facilities left a lot to be desired. For parents who have children in the ICU, the only places to sleep are a couple of small waiting rooms with hospital cots. Even though we live only 6 kilometres away from BCCH, that is just too far when your baby is in such critical condition. The main ICU waiting room is about the size of my living room. When the beds are full, that is a lot of worried, exhausted and overwhelmed families crammed into a small space. We’ve been told the new hospital will have space for parents to sleep next to each ICU bed.
There is also the very expensive medical equipment that saves lives. Addison needed ECMO – extracorporeal membrane oxygenator – to survive. Without this heart-lung bypass machine, she would have died. It’s that simple. Her heart was on the verge of failure when doctors hooked her up, saving her other organs from any damage. ECMO kept her alive long enough to assess her condition, give her heart a chance to recover, and ultimately give her a chance at a new life with a new heart. This is a very complicated piece of machinery that has a special tech assigned to watch it 24/7. And it is certainly very costly. The first ECMO machine at BCCH arrived as a result of donations.
I know most of us can never afford to shell out $750 for a ticket to the Crystal Ball, but we can help out in smaller ways. It all adds up!
Elaine, Aaron and Addison