Campbell is a boy beyond his years. He has endured and overcome so many obstacles in his short life of 40 months. Campbell was born premature at only 24 weeks. He weighed 1.5 pounds at birth. Campbell was immediately connected to machines in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Kingston General Hospital where he stayed for one month before he was stable enough to be transported to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Campbell had 13 surgeries in 6 months and did not eat anything but life saving chemicals for his first 3 months. He fought constantly to stay alive.
Campbell’s mother, Joanna stated “Those six months were a nightmare, but sadly, we have not awoken from this dream. After the fourth month in hospital, and five surgeries to try to save his eyes, we were told that Campbell would be blind. Then one month later, we were told Campbell is also deaf. Our world crumbled and the rug just kept getting pulled from underneath us. With each blow, we tried to find the positives and vowed to do everything we could to make Campbell’s life a happy and fulfilled one. I remember the day very well. After six months in hospitals, we were finally making the preparations to go home. We were so excited to bring Campbell home to his family. There was fear there too, wondering what is next and how do we care for this little person with all theses complications. Then, we met Joanne at the Intake Services at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC). Joanne gave us a tour of OCTC and through my tears of relief, I remember hugging her and thanking her.
With OCTC, I knew we would not be alone. We could make it through the next stage of Campbell’s journey with the support we needed. And so it began. Campbell has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. OCTC connected us with all the support staff we need to help Campbell with his therapies and medical requirements. For over one year now, Campbell has been enrolled at the OCTC preschool. I remember the first time I picked Campbell up from school when he was walking in his rifton walker. I could not have been more proud of my son. He loves that walker and loves the preschool staff who guides him through his mornings of fun and learning three days a week. Campbell is also part of the Tender Tots respite program. He looks forward to the two Saturdays a month that he gets to go to his “party.” Bert and I also look forward to respite because it gives us an opportunity to rest and spend some treasured time together. Campbell took part in the OCTC Summer Program last year. He spent a fun-filled week with a wonderful group of staff and students learning about new things and experiencing great adventures. Without a doubt, Campbell’s favourite outing was dress up at the Children’s Museum!
Without OCTC, we would be lost. We look to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre for much guidance and support. I love spending time in the toy library discovering different toys I can share with Campbell. We also look forward to our home visits from Chantal of the Blind Low Vision Program. She exposes Campbell to so many interesting ways to encourage vision and tactile exploration. Like all the staff, we have encountered at OCTC, we know for sure that they care about our little man Campbell and strive to improve his quality of life everyday and for that we are thankful beyond words.”