February 13, 2023

‘There’s Nothing I Can’t Do’: 2023 Saskatchewan Champion Child Announced

As a 16-year-old who has taken on some of the most daunting medical challenges, Nicko Karpan from Martensville, SK, knows exactly why it’s important to give back to other kids in hospital. Nicko has been selected as the Saskatchewan ambassador, representing Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, for the Children’s Miracle Network Champions Program.

Nicko was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, his back was completely open when he was born, and at a few days old he underwent two separate lifesaving surgeries. Both surgeries resulted in an excessive amount of blood loss, meaning that Nicko’s only chance of making a comeback was to fight for his life. Nicko spent the first three weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Nicko has been to the hospital for numerous surgeries, CT & MRI scans, X-ray check-ups every six to 12 months, and he has visited day surgery at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital multiple times for bladder and kidney testing and injections. Saskatchewan’s newly selected Champion Child knows first-hand how scary a hospital can be for kids and looks to inspire other children to share their stories to encourage others and support kids in their journey.

“It’s very nice to have people there to encourage you and help you through the hard times,” said Nicko. “I’ve gotten used to learning how to do the same things that other people do, but there could just be a different path I have to take to get it done. I feel very honoured and privileged that I was chosen as the Champion Child. Thank you for supporting Saskatchewan families and kids like me.”

Nicko is no stranger to being an ambassador for Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. He has shared his heartfelt story live on air at the Foundation’s provincial Radiothon, delivered speeches at multiple events including Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Week and Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day, and in the fall of 2022 Nicko emceed a live in-person gift announcement for Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“Nicko and his family have been strong advocates for the Foundation since 2016, and we are so proud that he will be representing Saskatchewan kids as Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation 2023 Champion Child,” said Jada Kook, Community Engagement Manager at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Nicko’s generous heart and commitment to helping kids in hospital makes him a true Champion and we know he will do an outstanding job representing our province’s children and families.”

As part of the Champions Program, ambassadors from across Canada are invited to attend Children’s Hospitals Week events in the spring in Orlando to meet with ambassadors from across North America.

Carson Garneau from Saskatoon passes the Champion Child torch to Nicko. Carson was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic tissue disorder. Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation is thankful for Carson’s commitment as he represented Saskatchewan children and families in hospital as Champion Child this past year.

Read more about Nicko’s story here.

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