Age: 17
Hometown: Humboldt, SK
Condition: Complex autoimmune disease, diabetes

Reason #148: “I don’t remember what it was like before I was sick.”

Even though Clara has suffered from a multitude of chronic illnesses, she has shown strength and bravery with every obstacle that comes her way. 

Her health care journey began when she was diagnosed with scoliosis at just seven-years-old. Clara was monitored closely by an orthopaedic surgeon and had regular follow-up appointments every three months.

Clara’s knees started to hurt and she was diagnosed with adolescent knee pain syndrome. She also developed a large lump on her left foot and ankle. Doctors initially thought it was a cyst and tried to drain it, but this made her foot swell and turn purple. She was then diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. It’s a condition categorized by excessive and prolonged pain and inflammation, following an injury to an arm or leg. 

This was just the beginning of Clara’s health issues. She was losing a lot of weight, drinking excessive amounts of water and was very lethargic. She was rushed to the ER in Humboldt and was then taken by ambulance to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) in Saskatoon for specialized care. Blood work revealed she had type 1 diabetes. 

A year later, Clara’s family was shocked by yet another diagnosis, following an MRI of her brain and spine – Chiari 1 malformation. The young girl needed surgery to help relieve pressure on her brain, which came with some risks. Clara underwent brain surgery in August 2021, seeing countless doctors in many different departments.

She now visits JPCH once a week for follow-up appointments and treatments. Through all the highs and lows, Clara credits JPCH for letting her still be a kid and remain positive through the tough times.

“I actually enjoy going to JPCH because of the environment with all the different colours and the pictures on the walls. The staff is so friendly and welcoming. They’ve really made it feel like home,” said Clara.

Clara’s story is far from over. Your ongoing support is needed as she continues to meet every challenge with grit and determination. Without the pediatric specialists at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital and without your generous donor dollars, children like Clara might not be able to receive treatment here in Saskatchewan. 

“The children’s hospital has changed my life because without it I wouldn’t be alive today. I’m not the only sick kid in Saskatchewan, there’s many more. I want those kids to be able to go to JPCH and get the great care that I’ve received for many years to come,” the 16-year-old said. 

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