Meet the Woloshyn Family

 

The last thing a parent feels when their child is in the hospital is calm. But the staff at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital radiate calm. This composure and care can soothe and reassure nervous parents and patients when handling tough issues, and it’s what parents like Paula Woloshyn appreciate most.

“Things my children were going through weren’t good at times, but I never saw the staff stressed. They were always calm and always explained things to me in the same way and in terms that I understood. I was always confident in their care,” says Paula.

“You have no idea how much it helps parents who are ‘lost’ find their way in this new and crazy world.”

Paula and husband, Kevin, are no strangers to the HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. In 2000, she gave birth to their first son, Darren. Although he was premature at 28 weeks and only 2.5 pounds, Darren was a fighter and after more than two months in hospital, he was able to go home. Two years later, a second son, Evan, was also born premature and, sadly, did not survive. When Paula became pregnant again in late 2002 – this time with twins – she was treated for an incompetent cervix and had two cerclages (stitches around the cervix) to prevent preterm labour and was placed on medical leave. Twin girls were born early at 30 weeks, but strong and able to come home after their own NICU stays of just over a month for Emily and almost two months for Brooke (due to an infection).

“The staff were an amazing support while my children were in the NICU. They supported not only the children but myself as well with their constant compassion, daily updates and ongoing information regarding the care being given to my babies and what was happening,” says Paula.

Today, her children are “perfect.” Darren is 21 years old and completing the electrical apprenticeship program at Red River College. Brooke and Emily have graduated from high school with honours with distinction.

The hospital experience had expected benefits while her children were being treated, but also positive long-term impacts on Paula.

“Although I wouldn’t have chosen this path for my family, at the end, I think I came out a better person. I feel I am a more compassionate person,” says Paula. “I also learned not to judge. You may think you have it bad, but when you look around the hospital, you realize how blessed you are.”

While pregnant with the twins, Paula decided to become a monthly donor to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, which funds equipment and programs at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.

“I was on bedrest with my twins, listening to Caroline Hunter on the radio. It was the annual Children’s Hospital fundraising drive. I knew that I would most likely be returning to the Children’s Hospital because I was carrying twins. It was then that I became a monthly donor. Having spent time there with my son, I felt it was a very worthy cause,” reminisces Paula, who continues to donate each month.

“Although I wasn’t looking forward to another stint in the hospital with my babies, there’s no place that I would rather have had them cared for.”

The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba is celebrating 50 years of community impact and helping families like Paula’s.

 

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