No one prepares you for a life like this. When I was entering my 20s, I thought I had my life planned: Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, grow old, and then retire somewhere warm. Nowhere in this plan were the terms: special needs, disabilities, and illness.
This past May, I featured the SickKids VS #MomStrong campaign where I wrote about how the emotional video captured the complete selflessness that moms possess when their child lives with a disability, sickness, or a life threatening disease. You can read it here.
Our family is a frequent visitor at the SickKids Hospital. Bella has been going to this hospital since she was a baby. This place is a landmark, as it is where we learned about Bella’s Global Developmental Delay, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, brain abnormalities, and visual impairment. With a heavy heart, this place is where we continue to surrender our trust to health professionals when Bella would undergo medical procedures including: surgery, MRI, X-rays, ECGs, and frequent blood tests. In this place I have learned to give myself permission to feel anxiety, insecurity, anger, and sadness. And most importantly, in this place I have found strength, perseverance, and determination.
We are an Ambassador Family at SickKids, and this past year we have been part of the SickKids VS campaign. In the fall we had the opportunity meet 200 ambassador patients and their families to film the SickKids VS: All In ad to raise more the $1 billion to rebuild the hospital. Check out some before and after pictures...
Here is the SickKids VS: All In ad that was released in October 2017, see if you are able to pause at 1:13!
This month we were invited to participate in another SickKids VS photoshoot. I wanted to give a special shout out to Lisa Charendoff who is the Associate Director of Community Stakeholder Relations, and Madeline Salerno who is the Associate for the Public Relations & Patient Ambassador Program. The dynamic duo champion the Ambassador Program, as their primary focus is to capture the stories of patients and to showcase SickKids hospital as a world leader in child health research, education and care. Props to you both!
Behind the scenes, I also had the opportunity to meet Nicki Ormerod, who is the photographer for the SickKids VS campaign. When Bella and Kadence were put in the spotlight for the photos, Nicki and her team ensured that they were not only comfortable and happy, but in their natural form. She allowed Bella to stand and sit however she wanted to, and didn’t mind Bella’s chewy tube and her 4-legged best friend. Nicki’s team even played Bella’s favourite nursery songs out loud on their speakers, and sang along to get her to smile. I was amazed with how Nicki captured the special connection Bella and Kadence hold, and the natural beauty that shines from her smile! Thank you Nicki for unleashing Bella’s inner Beyonce!
Check out some pictures from this photoshoot...
Thank you to the SickKids Ambassador Program, as you continue to give our family a way to give back to the hospital for the physical and emotional care we continue to receive.
To all my readers, stay tuned when the new marketing materials come out!