Thank you for standing by kids like Darcey this past year.

London Community Stands by Sick Children During Challenging Year

‘Our children remain our greatest hope for the future’

Just six years old, Darcey Papineau lives with an ultra-rare genetic blood disorder that can cause her blood to clot and her organs to begin shutting down.

She must visit Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) every three weeks for a life-sustaining infusion.

“Without the infusion, our girl becomes very sick,” says her mom, Dionne Papineau. “It’s scary to need the hospital for your child during the global pandemic. Since Darcey is immunosuppressed, she’s at greater risk for complications from COVID-19.”

Despite her concerns about the virus, Papineau feels fortunate for the incredible care her daughter continues to receive in these uncertain times.

“We are truly grateful for Darcey’s health care team and for the donors who have rallied this past year to ensure the best possible care for my daughter and other patients,” she says.

Darcey is not alone, Children’s Hospital, LHSC is the third largest paediatric hospital in Canada and serves all of Western Ontario.

Children’s Health Foundation launched the Stand By Me fundraising campaign last May to inspire the community to support the many young patients facing serious health issues during COVID-19.

Scott Fortnum, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation, says the response to the campaign has been astounding.

“In a year of enormous challenges, it’s been heartwarming to see our community come together for our kids. London recognizes that injury and illness haven’t stopped, and our sick children need us more than ever.

“We’ve had Londoners stand by our kids by making their first donation ever, increasing their regular monthly donations or fundraising in unique ways,” adds Fortnum.

There is also a special group of community-minded leaders who have formed the Stand By Me Circle of Champions. Each member donated $10,000 or more to the cause this past year.

Champions for Londoners on and off the ice, The London Knights Hockey Club and London Knights Alumni Foundation are part of the Stand By Me Circle of Champions.

“The Knights are proud to continue to support Children’s Hospital and the great work they do in our community,” says Mark Hunter, the London Knights general manager. “We know the donation will go directly to helping kids and their families and that is important to the Knights as an organization.”

Papineau says her family has experienced firsthand the impact donations have at Children’s Hospital, LHSC.

“The restrictions at the hospital have been a relief for me because I know they’re keeping my child safe. However, it’s hard on Darcey. I cannot imagine going through this time without the Child Life Program – which wouldn’t exist without caring and generous donors.”

Child Life Specialist Erika Clements has been Darcey’s greatest support by helping her cope and keeping her distracted during her four-hour long appointments.

She helps her to feel happy, calm and special no matter what is happening at the hospital.

During one of her appointments, Darcey really wanted to play with the big toy kitchen but she couldn’t because the hospital playroom was closed. Erika made sure the toy was brought to Darcey’s bedside.

“Her eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across her face when she saw it,” says Papineau. “It seems small but she’s six so it makes a big difference for her. It helps her feel that the hospital is a safe place.”

By giving to the Stand By Me campaign, Children’s Health Foundation donors have also helped provide financial relief for struggling families in hospital, purchased vital medical equipment and expanded mental health programming.

“Even in uncertain times, our children remain our greatest hope for the future,” says Fortnum. “Thank you to everyone in our community who has stood by our kids over the past year.”

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