Every time Ava, 12, bids farewell to family and friends she says ‘love’ instead of goodbye. As someone who underwent 10 brain surgeries, a major stroke, epilepsy and cerebral palsy as a young child, it’s important to Ava for ‘love’ to always be remembered as her last word.
This positive attitude, coupled with a passion to support children, like her, treated at The Hospital for Sick Children, is why she was selected as the 2011-12 SickKids Champion presented by Walmart.
SickKids celebrated the beginning of Ava’s term as Champion last week. It was also an opportunity to acknowledge 14-year-old cancer survivor Madison’s efforts as last year’s Champion.
And what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes!
The girls joined some professional pastry chefs for a cupcake decorating workshop. Best known for her chocolate chip cookies, Ava looks forward to now adding cupcakes to the array of baked goods she sells at her brother’s sporting events. She donates the money raised to her Ava Rose Fund at SickKids.
Champions presented by Walmart is a Children’s Miracle Network initiative that honours children from Canada and the United States who have triumphed despite facing severe medical challenges. Ava will represent SickKids when she travels with other Champion children to Ottawa and Orlando, Florida, as part of the Champion program.
Thank you to Madison for all her accomplishments this year and good luck to Ava on her journey ahead!
Written by guest blogger Dr. Joel Kirsh.
In two short days, I will be travelling north with two buses, 80 kids and 30 counsellors, on our way to what is increasingly known as “the best place in the universe.” Camp Oki is a summer camp like no other – it’s Canada’s first and only camp for kids with heart disease.
Camp Oki was created for kids who were “shut out” of mainstream camp programs due to a variety of cardiac conditions – and misperceptions of what these “kids with special hearts” could and couldn’t do. Thanks to our volunteers and generous donors, the camp has steadily grown from a long weekend program in 2004 for children with pacemakers and defibrillators to a week-long program for kids with any type of heart disease.
Camp Oki is a place where kids with heart disease can experience camp to the fullest – going tubing, swimming, playing sports, and making friends – a place where kids can, quite simply, be kids. At camp, they are encouraged to try new things – there is no sitting on the sidelines because you have a pacemaker or because you’ve had a heart transplant. Some of our campers first came to Camp Oki saying “I can’t do it”; they leave camp a week later saying, “I can do anything.”
This year, thanks to a generous donation from Cardiac Kids and The Firkin Group of Pubs, we are welcoming even more Camp Oki campers than before, at the Camp Oochigeas site in Rosseau. I’m excited about this new facility and looking forward to seeing both the new and familiar faces at camp this year.
Dr. Joel Kirsh is a staff cardiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, a staff physician in Critical Care Medicine and an associate professor in Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. He is also the Founder and Medical Director of Camp Oki.
Levi’s? Wrangler? Citizens for Humanity? Seven For all Mankind? Gap?
Whatever your style, grab your favourite jeans on September 14 and go casual for kids to celebrate Miracle Jeans Day.
Miracle Jeans Day is a fun and easy way for you and your colleagues or classmates to come together and help create a healthier future for children. Proceeds from Miracle Jeans Day support Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals, like The Hospital for Sick Children.
Follow these three easy steps to participate:
1) Select a Miracle Jeans Day captain within your group or organization – someone who will promote the event, collect donations and be responsible for ordering supplies.
2) Have your captain register at www.miraclejeansday.ca. Participation requires a minimum donation of $5 per person.
3) Pick out your favourite pair of jeans and wear them on September 14 in support of SickKids.
Your jeans have never looked so good!