Jeremy and his twin brother were born 11 weeks prematurely. Jeremy had a heart clot at birth, and as a result, was involved with Variety’s Heart Clinic since he came into the world. The specialists and staff worked with Jeremy over a considerable passing of time, and eventually dissolved the clot successfully. Having cleared that first hurdle, they moved on to their next challenge.
At 13 months, Jeremy underwent surgery for an amputation below his left knee. This was done to compensate for a foot which did not develop properly, and would require a prosthetic. He was barely a year old, and had already spent four months in Hospital.
Variety, the Children’s Charity continued to be a resource for Jeremy and his family by being there for them through the next stages. Variety helped Jeremy integrate with the Children’s Rehab Clinic, while also providing financial funding support for his early prosthetics.
With the whirlwind start to the lives of both Jeremy and his brother, who requires a wheelchair, Mom Marilyn has a hard time remember exactly what happened first in the sequence of events.
“I know that Variety was involved in both his heart clot and his prosthetic, in different capacities. But I always remember clearly Jeremy receiving phone calls from Variety staff over the years. They were always checking in to see how he progressing, up until he was a teenager. We always appreciated that on-going support.” says Marilyn.
Jeremy participated in Variety’s early Telethon broadcasts, Christmas parties, and other events. Being able to meet other families was helpful to both Jeremy, his brother and this parents Marilyn & Roger. “It’s hard to believe, but you always meet another family who is getting on with life, and carrying a few more extra challenges than you face. Being able to share with each other and learn how and where to obtain support was so helpful.”
Now a teenager, Jeremy has kept up with his youth activities. He was a part of Manitoba’s first sledge hockey team, which is now a full league. He has since moved on to a specialist, enabling him to now engage in all these activities, which a previous traditional foot casting could not support.
Recently, Jeremy received some additional funding support for new hearing aids from Variety. The ‘gift of hearing’ is priceless, and Variety’s Special Needs Program was able to assist with the purchase of these devices for Jeremy.
“I found that the biggest thing with our involvement with Variety over the years, is that they allowed us as parents to focus on other elements which are part of every family’s daily life. We could parent, and our kids could be kids.”
– Story by Chris Mahussier
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