Jessica is alive today and this is priceless
In 1996, a girl named Jessica Sears, aged two years, is diagnosed with a rare condition: an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which means an abnormal contact between the arteries and veins of the brain. An AVM forms an entanglement of blood vessels which can be very dangerous. It can lead to a rupture and potentially generate a stroke, convulsions, paralysis and even death.
Jessica had the worst kind of malformations. Unless she got treated, her chances of survival would decrease every year. The decision was then made to remove the AVM surgically by performing a craniotomy, or the surgical removal of part of the skull to expose the brain. It is the most commonly performed surgery for brain tumor removal. It may also be done to remove a blood clot and control hemorrhage, inspect the brain, perform abiopsy, or relieve pressure inside the skull. Jessica was operated on November 7, 1996 by Dr. Bojanowski of the Hôpital Notre-Dame, a specialist in arteriovenous malformations. He was assisted by Dr. Mercier of the CHU Sainte-Justine. Despite the significant risks encountered, the operation was a complete success. For the parents of Jessica, Sylvie Sanschagrin and Robert Sears, Sainte-Justine Hospital of Montreal saved their daughter thanks to the professional care provided: “Our daughter received the best medical care at the Hospital Sainte-Justine. All physicians and nurses and hospital staff contributed to the success of Jessica’s operation and recovery. We will never forget the expression of Dr. Bojanowski after Jessica’s operation. We knew when we saw him that she was getting away with. We are indebted for life to the Sainte-Justine Hospital, which saved our daughter’s life. ” Indeed, life is priceless.
In recognition for the CHU Sainte-Justine, Jessica’s parents — Robert Sears & Sylvie Sanschagrin — decided to dedicate the annual curling tournament they were organizing to raise fund for the children hospitals in Montreal. In 1999, the tournament name was changed and Kurling for Kids was born.
Thank God and the Children’s: Jéremie is healthy today
Born November 12th, 2003, Jérémie is Carl Mainguy and Josée Béliveau’s third child and first son. Jérémie’s story begins seven days after birth. Up to that point everything had been normal, but on the 7th day Jérémie woke up with a fever and wasn’t feeding well. His mother Josée immediately called her pediatrician and was told us to bring him in right away. The hospital staff took Jérémie into their care immediately upon arrival. Though he still had a fever, there were no signs of infection. They suggested that he undergo a lumbar puncture to eliminate the 0.1% chance that it could be meningitis. The parents agreed, but the ER doctors were not successful in extracting the spinal fluid because he was so small. The hospital admitted him to await blood and saliva test results.
The next day Dr. Liben suggested to attempt another lumbar puncture on Jérémie, despite the previous day’s difficulties. This time the puncture was successful, but worst fears were now confirmed: the boy had meningitis, raising concerns about Jérémie’s long term health and risks of permanent aftereffects. Dr. Liben and Dr. Ruben from infectious diseases did not know whether the meningitis was viral or bacterial. The answer to this question would give a better idea of the potential aftereffects.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. Viral meningitis can be very unpleasant but it is almost never life-threatening, and most people recover quickly and completely. Bacterial meningitis can be caused by a range of different bacteria. This form is more serious, life-threatening, and poses a risk of aftereffects.
It took 10 difficult days for the doctors to safely assess that Jérémie’s meningitis was viral. During this time, Jérémie suffered from collapsing veins and seizures requiring additional CT scans. On some days, Jérémie was very alert, hungry and showing good signs of recovery. These were the longest 10 days of our lives. While the news of viral meningitis was a relief from the alternative, it did not completely rule out the possibility of short term or permanent aftereffects. But to date, Jérémie has passed all of his follow-up tests with flying colors. His health will continue to be monitored closely, but everyone is very hopeful and thankful that he will continue down the same path of recovery.
This experience helped Carl & Josée to realize the importance of health: they are thankful for every healthy day they have! They are also eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses at The Montreal Children’s for the excellent care they provided to Jérémie. Many of the staff at The Children’s are also parents, and they understood the difficult times parents must go through as a family. This experience reaffirmed the importance of initiatives like Kurling for Kids, helping the hospital foundations fund desperately needed equipment to better care for sick children!
K4K Mission Statement
Kurling for Kids is a registered charity (Registration no.: 83329 5249 RR0001) dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families through The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Sainte-Justine UHC Foundation. We strive to raise funds to allow both hospitals to provide leading edge medical treatments, programs and equipment for our children, which would otherwise be out of reach with current budgets.