Jennifer and Jason Hay’s son Magnus was a fighter his entire life.
After a long labour, resulting in an emergency C-section, little Magnus faced challenges right from the start.
“They had to get him out because Magnus’ vitals were becoming erratic, and he was starting to be in danger,” remembers Jason. “In those first few hours they tried all kinds of things to get him to feed, but he couldn’t get anything down.”
Magnus was diagnosed with a condition where bowel tissue dies. He was also found to have a stricture in his bowel that would require surgery.
“When Magnus needed to go for surgery he was just a couple of days over 2 months old,” recalls Jennifer. “It was quite scary because he was so tiny. But up to that point he was receiving all of his nutrition through IV, and they needed to find a solution.”
Although the surgery went well, there soon began to be complications.
“After a couple of days of monitoring things just got worse and worse,” remembers Jennifer. “He had full body toxins in his tissues and a large blood clot in his groin.”
That clot began to break off and pieces went into his lungs, resulting in Magnus being placed on a ventilator.
“Each day he was on the ventilator was a different scenario,” says Jason. “One day he would look better, and the next it could be so much worse. We never knew what to expect, but we were hopeful the entire way. You never want to consider the worst case scenario.”
Magnus fought hard before passing peacefully due to respiratory failure.
“For the three months and five days of his life he fought every day,” says Jennifer. “He spent every day, every minute, every hour at Children’s Hospital. They did so much for our son in so many ways, and we want to give back.”
A few months after Magnus’ passing, Jason saw an advertisement for Extra Life, a 24 hour gaming marathon that unites thousands of players around the world in support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.
“It felt like lightning going through me when I read about Extra Life because I always thought Magnus was going to be my little gamer, he was always going to be my little player 2,” says Jason. “As soon as I heard about Extra Life I got on board. It felt so personal for me to be able to do that in his name and to give back to the hospital for the time that we did have with our baby.”
Jason enlisted family and friends to form a fund-raising team, and recently completed his third year participating in Extra Life.
“We named ourselves, ‘Always Player 2? in memory of Magnus,” says Jason. “Extra Life takes place during the time of year when Magnus was alive with us, and I feel him with me when I’m participating. It means so much to me.”
The Hay’s feeling of gratitude makes it an easy decision to support Children’s Hospital.
“It’s amazing with Magnus living only 3 months 5 days, how many different areas of support he received at Children’s,” remembers Jennifer. “So many people helped us in so many ways during our time at the hospital. In PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) they offered to do hand-prints and foot-prints of our baby. At the time we figured we would do those ourselves when Magnus came home, but changed our minds about a week before he passed away. Thank goodness we did because that is one of the most precious keepsakes we have of him. It’s those kinds of things the Hospital takes care of during such a horrible time that is so incredible.”
Without question, Magnus has impacted his Mom and Dad’s lives forever.
“Even though we only had a short time, the memories we have of him are precious,” says Jennifer. “He has given me the gift of appreciating the small things. The kind of things that I don’t think I really would have thought about before I now stop and appreciate.”
The Hay’s appreciation extends to every dollar of support they have received over the years.
“Whenever I get a donation I like to think of it as another 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes that a parent will get to hold their child, because I know exactly how precious those minutes are,” says Jason. “Ultimately we wish that no family ever has to go through what we went through and hopefully with donations and research, that can happen someday.”
The Hay’s spirit of giving in honour of their son includes the Magnus Hay baby formula drive. This annual campaign helps food banks feed hungry babies. Drawing on their own tragedy to benefit others helps the Hay’s feel closer to their son.
“Magnus lives in our hearts and we will continue to do what we can to help,” says Jason. “Without the Children’s Hospital we may have had days with our son, and instead we got months. I think of those days, and I can still feel him in my arms. We can’t be more thankful about the time we did get with our son.”
Thank you Magnus, for inspiring so much greatness!
Please support Children’s Hospital today so that more kids like Magnus get to go home. Donate today.