Acting Fast to Save A Life

In February of 2009, everything changed. As these things do, it started off as a typical day. Julie dropped her toddler Eli off at daycare and headed to work. She didn’t expect to get an emergency call that afternoon that something was horribly wrong.

In the arms of his day care provider, Eli lost all vital signs. Immediately, she called 911 and performed CPR. First responders rushed him to his community health centre in Newbury where he was revived multiple times. By that evening, he was stable enough to transfer to Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. Doctors immediately did a CT scan and took him into surgery.

“I remember kissing my fragile son five minutes before surgery and feeling so helpless. In that difficult moment, the doctors were compassionate, but they were also direct. They needed to act FAST to save my little boy’s life,” recalls Julie.

Eli had suffered a brain bleed which caused a massive stroke. After surgery, he was placed into an induced coma to give his brain time to heal. At this point, doctors did not know if he would survive.

First, his toes started to wiggle, then his fingers, and finally, he slowly opened his eyes. The more alert he became, the more they realized he wasn’t using the right side of his body. It was unclear the extent of brain damage he suffered. His health care team noticed that fluid wasn’t draining from his brain, so he underwent an additional surgery to have a shunt put in.

Eli spent the next four years in therapy recovering. The young boy also wore a helmet for three years because he was missing the bone flap on the left side of his head, which was removed during the initial surgery. Surgeons have since put in a prosthetic bone flap and he no longer needs the helmet.

Now 10 years old, Eli is doing well. He still gets migraines, which sometimes end up as hospital stays. Every few years, Eli will require surgery to replace the prosthetic bone flap as he grows. In the meantime, he enjoys watching sports, going to school and learning. Thanks to Children’s Hospital, Eli can still just be a kid!

You can help Eli continue to receive the best possible care at Children’s Hospital by donating at your local Lowe’s location between April 6 and May 13. Your donations to Children’s Miracle Network will support the purchase of essential paediatric equipment – just like the pieces that saved Eli’s life – as well as important programs like Child Life, which make hospital stays easier and more kid-friendly. We know it means a lot to Eli:

“Everyone says I am a miracle, but it’s because of Children’s Hospital that I am alive. Good people like you that raise money for Children’s Health Foundation save lives like mine and all my friends who have been sick like me too. Thank you very much. I love you all.” - Eli