Saturday, September 05, 2015

Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk for Sick Kids #WalkForSickKids

Facing the reality of a critically ill child is a nightmare, but so many families are living that nightmare every day. Although Boo had a rough and very scary start to life, he has been generally healthy since, thank goodness. But he did present several behavioural issues that eventually led us into the Hospital for Sick Children family. And we are so grateful to be there!

Feeding tubes, heart monitors, IV, bandage over heel pricks, living in an isolette.
Boo was born in the downtown hospital core, at an excellent hospital, across the street from SickKids. He had critically low blood sugar levels that would not stabilise and was admitted to the NICU, where he stayed for the first 15 days of his life. He and all the other babies received amazing care there, but even so we saw some of his NICU roommates making the trip across the road for the extremely specialised and high level care they needed and could only receive at SickKids. It was scary to see them go, knowing it meant they needed more care than even our hospital could provide, but reassuring to know they were going to get that care from the fabulous experts nearby.

For us, our SickKids journey began a few years later. Boo was demonstrating a number of behavioural *cough* challenges, and I asked our family doctor to give us a referral for assessment. Long story short, he received a tentative diagnosis of ADHD at age 5, and his psychiatrist suggested a second opinion as he didn't usually treat kids that young. He listed a bunch of possibilities, but there was only one option in my mind - the ADHD clinic and research program at the Hospital for Sick Children. And they have done wonders for him!

After a full day of assessment and interviews, he was officially diagnosed as ADHD-HI (hyperactive, impulsive), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and designated gifted in literacy and numeracy. What this meant for our understanding of how to help him was huge. And having this information to share with the school system basically changed everything, and led to us being able to access many supports to help him cope with the demands of the structured school environment and to better engage with his classmates and make friends. Four years later, we continue to meet regularly with his SickKids psychiatrist to work on behavioural interventions, monitor medications, and just to check in on how the family is doing. Our appointments are farther apart all the time, but we know our support system is there, and they are at the cutting edge of research into how to treat Boo's set of challenges.
All of this amazing research and care does not just grow on trees, and major fundraising efforts are a reality to keep the innovations and discoveries coming. The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk to benefit SickKids is taking place on September 26, with a goal of raising $2 million for The Possibilities Fund at SickKids Foundation. This is SickKids' most flexible funding source, making it the one with the most potential to transform children’s health. The funds can be used wherever they are most needed.

So what happens at the walk? The Great Camp Adventure Walk takes participants on a route through Downtown Toronto, providing a full-day of memories and camp-themed activities while supporting a great cause. This is a challenge-by-choice event, meaning teams are able to challenge themselves to walk 5km, 10km, 15km or 20km, whatever they are up for. There are a series of fun campsites located all along the route where participants can fuel up with healthy refreshments, take a bathroom break, enjoy various activities and earn camp badges. And if you've reached your limit, you can catch a shuttle back to main camp. The walk is designed to be fully accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, so it's great for the whole family.

What do you think? This event is a great way to get active with your family, explore Toronto, and raise funds for the great work done by the Hospital for Sick Children. For all the details on how you can get involved and to register, please visit  And right now you can save $10 off the registration fee by using the code social at registration (all lowercase).


I also want to tell you about The Great Camp Adventure Walk Contest being run by Influence Central. Until 11:59pm EDT, September 26, you can enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 $100 donations to a team of your choosing, plus an additional $100 for the you! The contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

Enter here:
The Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids Promotion Contest

Best of luck!

Disclosure: I am part of the Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids campaign with Influence Central, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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