Stefano’s Stories: One is the loveliest number

November 2022

I have the number one job in the world. Seriously. All day, I get to meet with incredible kids and families who are experiencing challenges that none of us would wish on anyone. In addition to their health challenges, they selflessly take the time to share their stories and raise funds to support other families who are going through similar situations.

Then there are the health care professionals and researchers we work with. These folks – our healthcare heroes – spend their days healing, caring, listening, learning and so much more so that all kids get the very best care possible. If you have been following the news, you will know that they are working under demanding and less-than-optimal conditions. We try hard to support them however we can so they can keep putting kids first.

And finally I have the privilege to meet with people like you, who decide you have a personal responsibility to make sure kids, families, health care professionals and research teams have what they need so that our entire community benefits from a collective commitment to kids’ wellbeing.

What’s interesting is that everyone — business owners, individuals, service groups, schools, sports teams — has a story that inspires them to the support child health.

Let me give you an example.

We got a call from an organization we had not worked with before, Tornado Haulers, who wanted to make a donation. We met with them and learned the reason for their donation. The owner and his wife had just given birth to their first child, a healthy, happy girl they named Heaven. They were so filled with gratitude and joy that they wanted to say thanks with a gift of $11,111.11.

That’s a unique number, which has deep meaning to them. In their culture, the number one is an auspicious number that signals the beginning of everything. This gift honours the beginnings of Heaven’s life and their new, larger family unit. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity and wish them continued health and happiness.

Heaven’s family chose to direct their gift to support research at Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM), which is also fitting, as there are many number ones there too!

The teams at CHRIM are made up of world-leading researchers. Not only best in Manitoba or best in Canada. Best everywhere. They are at the forefront of dynamic, meaningful work that is relevant to kids here at home and around the world. Research that moves quickly from the lab to the bedside.

For example, type 2 diabetes (T2D) in a child was first identified by Dr. Heather Dean, a clinician-scientist at HSC Children’s and CHRIM. Until that time, T2D had been believed to be an adult condition. Since then, Dr. Dean and the diabetes research team have continued to expand knowledge and improve care for kids with this disease. This year, Diabetes Canada is recognizing CHRIM member Dr. Elizabeth Sellers for her outstanding contributions in the Diabetes Canada camps for children since 1993.

Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg led the world’s first clinical trials to treat hypophosphatasia, a rare genetic disorder. Her patients came from all over the world – from Ireland, Lebanon, Belgium, and more. Dr. Lauren Kelly was tapped to lead international pharmaceutical trials into treatments for COVID-19 in the earliest days of the pandemic. The CHILD cohort study led in Manitoba by Dr. Elinor Simons is being mined for critical data related to physiological changes and impact of COVID on kids; because they have been following the same cohort of children and testing them every year, they have a virtual treasure trove of before and after results. The list goes on…

Amazing. All right here.

Thanks to the support of our communities, the health of kids will continue to be our number one focus. We invite you to learn more. Thank you for helping to #GiveBetterFutures to sick and injured kids.

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