We share Nathan's story because it demonstrates the great work that SickKids does for all of our children. They support not only children battling cancer but also a variety of other issues including heart defects. Desiree Lowe is Nathan's mom and she outlines the impact that SickKids can have on a family in crisis.
When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Nathan, a complex heart defect was noticed in the ultrasound and we were automatically referred to SickKids and it was determined that I would be admitted to the Special Pregnancy program at Mount Sinai hospital so I could deliver there and Nathan would be able to go across the street as soon as he was born. Over the next several weeks, there were many visits to Toronto from our home in Haliburton and he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called Tricuspid Atresia. There have been several visits to Toronto since, including regular follow ups and 3 emergency transports by ORNG, one of which because he got a cold virus that his respiratory system couldn't handle so we spent Christmas there that year. He has had two open-heart surgeries, one when he was almost three months and one when he was about two and a half. The road ahead for him is uncertain but we know that he shouldn't need any surgeries in the near future because the reconstruction should hold into adulthood.
From the first overwhelmingly emotional walk inside the doors at SickKids through all the stays and everything in between, one feeling always comes up and that is that although it's never a place you want to be, when you have a kid who is sick, it's the only place you want them to be. I'm always aware of how lucky we are that Nathan doesn't live there like many kids virtually do. It's always going to be a big part of our lives and we're always going to make it a priority to give back to the hospital that has saved Nathan and do what we can to support the families that also need them.
Nathan will be four in November and will start school in September.