Where are they now? Champion Child update: Laura

“We are committing to the Children’s Hospital for the rest of our lives. It’s just our way of saying thank you.”—grateful mom, Sandra

Laura Biesheuvel’s family hasn’t forgotten about the importance of HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.

Laura was born with an intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) and had an extra fold in her brain doctors had not seen before. She needed brain surgery to remove the blood and correct the fold. Plus she needed transfusions because her platelet levels were dropping, and the platelets she needed are rare. There was only one unit of that kind of platelets in the country, and fortunately it was in Winnipeg.

Sandra and husband Peter are thankful 2016 Champion Child Laura, now 12 years old, is here with them today. They have been told that if Laura was born anywhere other than Winnipeg she wouldn’t have survived.

“It was a big shock when Laura was born. We weren’t expecting anything to be wrong other than that she was born a month early. To be hit with this diagnosis and this unknown condition where nobody knew what she had or what to do with her was devastating,” says Sandra. “They had never seen this before and we were expecting the worst,” says Sandra.

The surgery was a success but Laura still needed medical attention as she developed including physical, occupational and speech therapy. Laura spent much of her early years being treated at HSC Children’s.

Now Laura is growing and enjoying life; she loves to bake, do her hair in braids, and play with her dog Ruby. She has some lasting vision issues due to her brain injury and uses a special iPad for school, but is otherwise meeting developmental milestones. She still visits the hospital a few times a year to see her ophthalmologist and neurologist to monitor any changes in her condition.

HSC Children’s has also helped Laura’s older sister, Ella. In 2019 Ella spent two weeks as an inpatient in the hospital, and has continued to see specialists for support.

“I would say it (HSC Children’s) saved both our daughters’ lives. Having the specialists that have chosen to come and work in Winnipeg and provide their expertise, having the science and the research that we have through the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba – I think that’s afforded us the best care in the world for both of our girls,” says Sandra.

Giving back to the hospital that saved their daughters is important to Sandra and Peter. They both want other families to always have access to knowledgeable and caring clinicians like their daughters had.

“It’s to help families to come down the road. Not everybody is in a position where they can leave a gift and we’re in a position where we can so we just want that to be part of our daughter’s legacy,” says Sandra.

Many of Laura’s family members are monthly donors to Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, and her parents have committed a gift to the Foundation in their will.

“You develop these long-term relationships with people and you have a connection to them. Even though it’s a clinical relationship they’re close in your heart. You can just see that these doctors are really dedicated to the health of the children they look after and it’s nice to know that,” says Sandra. T hat’s part of why we are committing to the Children’s Hospital for the rest of our lives. It’s just our way of saying thank you.”

To learn more about how you can help sick and injured children with a planned gift click here.