|Condition:||Autoimmune / Rare Disease|
Reason #71: “Because your child’s health is never guaranteed.”
At the age of 10, Kherington has already received over 2,000 needles, multiple surgeries, and visits to Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) every two to four weeks – but she still has not received a formal diagnosis. Kherington, like other children in Saskatchewan, is deemed a “medically complex” case or as her mom Cara calls her, an “enigma.”
Kherington’s medical journey began after having a life threatening event on her way home from daycare. Kherington’s airway began to constrict to the point where she almost couldn’t breathe at all and she became lightheaded and dizzy as a result of her blood pressure dropping. This moment is one that her mom Cara will never forget.
“I don’t think there’s actually words to describe what it’s like to watch your child have a life-threatening event. You look at this tiny human that you are in charge of that you are supposed to be taking care of and keeping safe and healthy that’s spiraling out of control in front of you. You don’t know how to stop it and you don’t know how to fix it. To look at your kid and go, ‘Is today the day you’re going to die?’ is incredibly scary,” described Cara.
At the worst point, if their family is not on top of the medication and treatments for Kherington, one of these life-threatening events can lead quickly to Kherington’s organs shutting down.
When asked about how she feels when thinking of herself as a medically complex child, Kherington said, “It’s like, ‘Why me? Why did it have to be me who has to go through this?’”
Though Kherington doesn’t know when she’ll be diagnosed or what she’ll be diagnosed with, she does know that JPCH is helping her feel better. It is the team of doctors, nurses, and specialists that has helped Kherington and her family get through some of the toughest times in their lives.
“The doctors and nurses have become my family,” said Kherington.
Because of Kherington’s regularly scheduled visits to JPCH for treatment and maintenance, she’s been able to live an incredible life. In Kherington’s free time, she loves to Irish dance. Though Kherington is a medically complex child, this hasn’t stopped her from living out her dreams. Kherington recently competed at the Irish Dance World Championships in Ireland with sights on many more World Championships in the future.
Without Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatchewan, Cara and Kherington know that the life Kherington has been able to live might not have been a reality.
“We need a Children’s Hospital in Saskatchewan. If someone had told me 15, 20 years ago that the Children’s Hospital would be such an integral part of my daughter’s life, I would have never believed it and I wouldn’t have known how important it was. The Children’s Hospital is so important because your child’s health, niece’s health, neighbour’s health is never guaranteed,” said Cara.