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for kids like Joaquin

It began like any September evening. Eleven-year-old Joaquin was playing basketball at his friend’s house a few blocks away and as dinnertime approached, he let his mom and dad know he was heading home on his bike. Only he never made it.

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After 10 minutes, Joaquin’s parents, James and Michelle, grew worried. His sister decided to track his phone’s location and was shocked to discover where it was — inside the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Immediately, James, called his son’s phone. A social worker answered and told him he needed to come to the hospital right away. On their way there, he and Michelle passed police officers barricading part of the road where a collision had occurred. Their hearts sank. Behind the yellow police tape, they saw Joaquin’s bicycle and beside it, one of his shoes.

Joaquin in recovery at the Alberta Children's HospitalThe minute they arrived at the hospital, James and Michelle were rushed to their son who was lying on a bed surrounded by doctors and nurses. Their once happy and energetic boy was now unresponsive, needing a ventilator to breathe for him.

A CT scan revealed a grim picture. Joaquin had suffered a cracked skull, causing severe swelling and a brain injury.

“As soon as I saw all the white spots in the brain scan, I knew the odds for him to survive were slim,” James says. “We just kept telling him ‘Hang in there, son, come back to us,’ and all we could do was pray that he would.”

“Would our son walk and talk again? Would he remember his family? We just prayed for one miracle a day.” – Joaquin's dad, James

Every day, specialists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital arrive at work – not knowing how their day will unfold – prepared to do whatever it takes to help kids and families get through what could be the most frightening time of their lives. Support from our community ensures that life-saving, life-changing care is available when kids like Joaquin need it the most.

The next 72 hours would be critical. Joaquin’s life and his future quality of life hung in the balance. The hospital’s Neurocritical Care team of intensive care specialists and neurologists worked diligently to preserve as much of his brain function as possible. Thankfully, after three days, an MRI revealed Joaquin’s brain swelling had settled. Joaquin would survive, but his family couldn’t help but wonder if he would be the same Joaquin when he woke up.

“Would our son walk and talk again? Would he remember his family?” James recalls thinking. “We just prayed for one miracle a day.”

Miracles happen every day at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, but they can’t happen without people like you.

You can help make more miracles possible for children like Joaquin. And if you donate before June 30, your donation will be doubled.

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Joaquin today, with his familyOver the next days and weeks, while Joaquin grew strong enough to breathe on his own, facial fractures and nerve damage made speaking and opening his eyes difficult. Desperate for any communication with their son, his family celebrated every hand squeeze and thumbs up as reassuring signs their son was still in there, that he did remember them and understood he was not alone.

Soon, Joaquin was able to communicate by writing simple words on a small white board. Then, his team of occupational, physio and speech therapists helped him relearn how to sit up, stand, walk and talk again. Finally, nine weeks after he was rushed to hospital, he was able to go home.

Today, Joaquin, now 12, is a strong and determined young man, still working hard at his recovery with his team at the hospital and making incredible strides. He can now walk unassisted, speak with his family in full sentences, and is set to return to his school this month! His smile is back and he’s practicing dribbling his basketball with hopes of one day shooting hoops with his friends again.

Donor-funded equipment and expertise at the Alberta Children’s Hospital saved Joaquin’s life. By giving a gift today, you can help to ensure that hospital specialists are armed with the best technology and resources available so they can not only save a child’s life but preserve their quality of life, too.

Your generosity ensures when the unexpected happens, children like Joaquin can survive even the most serious of injuries and illnesses and return home to their families as healthy as possible.

Thanks to a grateful mom named Elsie, whose son also received exceptional care, donations will be matched dollar for dollar if received by June 30.

Please consider making a gift today, knowing your support can go twice as far to ensure children have access to the best care possible when their lives depend on it.

Your support will go TWICE as far

Donate today!

All donations received by June 30 will be matched dollar for dollar.