Making a difference for Columbia Valley kids

Diane Wilson has had a couple of great experiences at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Editor’s note: This is the second story of a two-part series by guest writer Kate Gibbs on the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Diane Wilson has had a couple of great experiences at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Her first one was in 1991 when her nine-year-old daughter Marni suffered from a concussion, and possibly a cracked skull, after hitting her head on a goal post. After the incident, Diane and Marni were rushed to the Alberta Children’s Hospital by ambulance where Marni was treated with the upmost care.

“The doctors made her feel really good,” said Diane.

Marni could even have her mom sleep right beside her hospital bed every night.

“Coming from a small town, it was nice a mom could be in the room with her nine-year-old girl,” said Diane.

Marni was in the hospital for about three days while recovering from her concussion. After finding out that she only had a minor crack in her skull, mother and daughter left the hospital happy that they had such a phenomenal facility when they needed it the most.

Years later, Diane discovered that her experiences with the Children’s Hospital were not quite over. Her grandson Theo was also rushed there after his parents found out that he wasn’t keeping his food down properly. At first his family was sure it was just the flu, but as days went by, Theo’s swallowing refluxes began to worsen. He was soon taken to Calgary Children’s Hospital by ambulance. There, the valve in his stomach was opened and operated on in a one-day procedure. Theo had a full recovery afterwards.

“Again, it was a phenomenal experience because Mom and Grandma got to be with him the whole time,” Diane said. “We are very lucky to have that hospital and be able to use it. I always support any of the Children’s Hospital charities I can.”

The Children’s Hospital not only impacts the children who go there, but those who have parents working there as well.

Jennifer Chatton’s mom was an employee at the Alberta Children’s Hospital who worked in the mental health department. Jennifer remembers going to visit her and really enjoying her time there.

“I always felt like it was a warm and comfortable place,” she said. “It’s a great place where kids can feel safe and that it’s just for them.”  Jennifer continued to visit her mom when she worked for the new Children’s Hospital, the big, bright building you see when you drive into Calgary.  “It looks like it’s made of Lego.”

The new Children’s Hospital was designed by the people who use it the most — the kids!  Builders asked the children what they wanted it to look like. The kids drew them pictures and they made it happen. Now, it’s really their hospital.

“It looks like it’s made of Lego,” said Jennifer. “I thought that was really neat.  I think it’s valuable and important.”

The Alberta Children’s Hospital is a special place for many children who live in this valley.

The doctors there healed David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) student Mitchell Prentice’s broken ankle and they gave DTSS janitor Margaret Crawford’s grandson eye surgery to help his vision. They’ve also helped DTTS support worker Shawn Raven’s niece, who has a curved spine, and DTSS student Ally Hatalik, who goes for diabetes checkups.

Many people who have used the Children’s have nothing but good things to say about it. Hopefully it will continue to thrive, and enrich the lives of children all over B.C. and Alberta.

David Thompson Secondary School student Kate Gibbs is a work experience student writing for The Valley Echo.