Stories - Our Kids

Meet Abby

When Heather Pakkala was five months pregnant, an ultrasound revealed that her baby girl was likely to be born with a cleft palate or a cleft lip. Hearing this news helped prepare baby Abby’s parents, but even still the first few moments after she was born were shocking and confusing for the new parents.

Fortunately, though, little Abby and her family were in the kind and expert hands of our team here at Children’s Hospital, who treated them as just that – family.

Generous donors like you are also a big part of that family. The Children’s Hospital can offer such personal care to families like this one thanks to the generous gifts we receive.

“Cindy, the cleft lip technician, took me under her wing,” remembers Heather. “She showed me photos of other babies they had operated on. She totally reassured me. And the nursing team taught me how to feed Abby with a syringe and a special bottle.” 

Parents like Heather rely on the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital to help their little ones when they need it. And we rely on compassionate donors like you. Once you’ve heard more about Abby, will you consider making a gift to purchase specialized equipment like the surgical headlights our doctors wear when they operate on babies like her?

You may know someone whose baby has had a cleft palate at birth. If so, you know how unsettling this can be for parents, and how dangerous it can often be too.  Newborns like Abby may have feeding difficulties and later on may have hearing problems, dental issues, and speech impairment.

So it’s absolutely critical that doctors take actions, such as surgery, as soon as possible and that our doctors have access to the best equipment available.

As you can imagine, operating on a newborn baby is extremely difficult. In Abby’s case her doctors needed to make tiny little incisions in the roof of her mouth. Surgeons wear specialized headlights designed just for delicate operations like these.

Our current headlights are old and need to be replaced. The new headlights will give our doctors much more mobility to move around their little patients, and the batteries can be changed in just 5 seconds when every second counts.

Most important, the light from the new headlights will help our surgeons see so much better in cases like Abby’s – where there is no room for error.

Within three months of birth, Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Ross operated on little Abby to close the two sides of her upper lip together. It took a number of surgeries to keep it closed. Heather told the doctors, “it’s because Abby smiles all the time – and her smile is just so big and beautiful!” 

I’m sure you’ll agree Abby’s smile says it all – that investing in the very best headlights available to create healthy smiles for all children is important.

Your gift today will help us purchase the new headlights we urgently need, along with other vital equipment to help kids like Abby.

We need 4 new headlights, and they cost about $4,950 each.

These days Abby is a charismatic, energetic five-year-old. Her family are big supporters of Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital join me in thanking you for your support. And hope you’ll join me and the Pakkala family by supporting the hospital today. Let’s get our doctors the equipment they need to support the kids we all care about so much!

Your gift of any donation you can give will help us get there!

With warm regards,

Lawrence Prout

President & CEO

P.S.  Heather tells us that she is always moved by the stories people tell her about their own experiences at Children’s Hospital. It really is a cornerstone of our community, extending help to kids from Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba. Please support our team today – Thank you!