Mother says son's legacy is teaching others about inclusion

Lynda Dobbin-Turner misses her son, Shane, every day. Shane had cerebral palsy and passed away at age 17, but Lynda says he lives on in many ways.

“I think part of his legacy is just to keep raising awareness. He still does an awful lot of work in this world,” says Lynda.

Shortly after Shane was born in January 1992, Lynda noticed her son was not meeting typical milestones and his development was regressing. Doctors at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital discovered he had brain damage and diagnosed him with cerebral palsy.

At the time Lynda and Shane lived in Lavenham, Manitoba – about two hours away from Winnipeg. When Shane needed treatment or surgery he and Lynda stayed in hospital, with Lynda sleeping on a rollaway cot, sometimes for months at a time.

Lynda says the staff at HSC Children’s made their experience as positive as it possibly could be and is very grateful for their support. Just one example is a member of the evening maintenance staff, who would start her shift by bringing Lynda a portion of whatever she had cooked her own family for dinner.

“That community that they created for us beyond our own community was just a lifeline because it was a very hard time. Beyond the medical, it’s life-saving in terms of the mental health and the emotional wellbeing of the families that are there (at HSC Children’s) because it’s challenging times,” says Lynda.

Shane spent his life using a wheel chair and was never able to express himself verbally but he lived surrounded by the people he loved. At home Shane enjoyed swimming using special floating devices and watching Disney movies. In hospital Shane loved looking at the fish in the play room aquarium, visits from the therapeutic clown, and all the activities Child Life planned for the kids.

Lynda says Shane taught those around him, including her, about the value every person has no matter their abilities. She’s written three books about his experiences and gives school presentations on inclusion.

 “It’s learning about inclusion and seeing possibilities I think that’s going to keep moving our world forward. The hospital and the Foundation are a big part of that. Their support to keep finding cures, finding technology and ways to enhance and support life for children who don’t live typical existences is critical.”

To help the hospital continue to enhance and support life for children, please consider giving a gift in tribute of Shane or another child here.