Former Champion Child excited for new children’s hospital

Cohyn Wells doesn’t let much slow him down these days.

The 13-year-old Moose Jaw boy underwent his seventeenth surgery earlier this month, and recovered like the true champion he is.

The surgery involved replacing a shunt, which Cohyn had in place for more than 12 years before it recently broke in two places. Cohyn has hydrocephalus, and the shunt helps drain the buildup of excess fluid in his brain.

“The surgery went really well. This was actually one of the fastest recoveries he’s ever had. He had surgery and was out of the hospital the next day,” said Cohyn’s mom, Kristyn.

While in Saskatoon for surgery, Cohyn got a good look at the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, which is on schedule to open this fall.

“The hospital looks really awesome. I can’t wait to see it open,” Cohyn said.

Besides hydrocephalus, Cohyn was also born with spina bifida and Chiari II malformation, which is a structural defect in the part of the brain that controls balance. Cohyn has also since developed syringomyelia, a rare, progressive disease that affects his spinal cord.

Cohyn back in 2015 as Champion Child

Most of Cohyn’s surgeries have been accompanied by lengthy hospital stays and recovery periods, with his very first surgery happening when he was less than a day old.

In 2015, Cohyn was selected as the Saskatchewan representative for the Children’s Miracle Network’s Champion Program presented by Walmart. Now four years later, Cohyn is a strong, kind-hearted and adventurous teenager. He’s staying active in sports, playing wheelchair basketball and recently taking up sledge hockey.

“From the outside, he looks like a normal kid, but it’s everything on the inside that you don’t see. You would never know what he’s been through, unless you saw something like his scars or his colostomy bag,” Kristyn said.

Cohyn will continue to need more surgeries as he keeps growing and will call Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital home at times.

“His spinal cord is caught on scar tissue, so as he grow it puts more pressure on that. Eventually during his growth spurt, he’ll have to undergo another surgery. This time in the new children’s hospital,” Kristyn said.

This year’s Champion Child is Blake Wheeler. You can read more about Blake’s story here.

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