At the tender age of 2, Luca was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a chronic and life-limiting disease. Once the news set in, Luca’s parents committed to becoming his greatest health advocates. With the help of amazing caregivers at BC Children’s, this family found the courage and support they needed to navigate through Luca’s treatments.
In spite of frequent hospital visits for care and maintenance, Luca hasn’t let cystic fibrosis slow him down. This cheerful fellow loves to play soccer and the piano.
Kelly and Nick Matovich were looking forward to the arrival of their first child, a baby girl. The pregnancy was progressing smoothly until the 20th week, when an ultrasound revealed that the left side of their baby’s heart was underdeveloped and not pumping blood properly. Doctors told the couple that the baby would require surgery as soon as possible after birth.
Kelly and Nick were stunned by the news but knew that BC Children’s Hospital would be the best place for their baby to be. Nova was born on January 12, 2012, and at only five days old, the newborn underwent her first reconstructive open-heart operation – the first of three operations that would be required to treat her life-threatening condition. The second procedure was completed five months later.
Kelly is grateful to the cardiac care team at BC Children’s for saving her daughter’s life. “Nova was only in the hospital for 11 days after her second surgery, which, to me, is incredible,” she says. “The doctors taught us how to take care of her and we were able to take her home. All the staff was amazing.”
Doctors anticipate that Nova will have her last operation when she is about three years old. It will enable her blood to be directed properly, meaning her blue, or de-oxygenated, blood will flow toward her lungs and pink, or oxygenated, blood to return to her body. After that, she will only be required to come back to BC Children’s once a year for follow-up care. Meanwhile, Nova is reaching all of her developmental milestones and according to Kelly, is a “super happy baby, full of life.”
Aidan Chin has a creative mind and the 13-year-old’s art reveals how much his world has changed since his cancer diagnosis in February 2011. One of his drawings shows children with IV poles, which Aidan portrays as the children’s “buddies” – friendly entities that help them out.
Aidan has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and, although he receives some of his chemotherapy treatments at home, he will remain a monthly visitor to BC Children’s Hospital until the end of his treatment in June 2014.
Cancer can have a profound impact on a child’s life in many ways. The fact that Aidan, once a shy child, recently spoke about his experience in front of large crowd shows that the illness has done more than influence his artwork, it has also made him stronger.
Concern for an infant’s survival shouldn’t be the first emotion a new parent experiences, but when Heather Morovic’s daughter Kaitlyn was born with mosaic Down syndrome and two holes in her heart, fear for her newborn daughter’s life overrode everything else.
Kaitlyn, now two years old, spent the first six weeks of her life at BC Children’s Hospital and that experience left a lasting impression on Heather and her husband Nenad. Today, they can’t say enough about the caregivers at BC Children’s. From the surgeon who performed Kaitlyn’s intestinal surgery at 11:30 pm just so “it was done sooner rather than later,” to the nurses who made their hospital stays “magical,” the Morovics are grateful to everyone they’ve met during Kaitlyn’s treatment. The hospital will continue to be a big part of the family’s lives as doctors keep a close eye on Kaitlyn’s health as she grows.