When you are looking forward to the birth of your first child, one has an expectation of the trials and tribulations when dealing with a new born child. For the vanTol family, these challenges have been amplified by the birth of their disabled daughter Hannah. There have been countless surprises and days you wish you could do over, but the vanTol family takes each day as it comes. Despite the challenges and difficulties, the person who gets them through is Hannah, their seven year old, sweet, laughing, little daughter. The strongest person I know.
Hannah was born in Peterborough Hospital seven years ago at 36 weeks gestation through an emergency C-section. She weighed 3 lbs, 12 ozs, was intibated, stabilized and rushed to Sick Kids Hospital where she stayed for the first two weeks of her life.
Hannah had countless tests over the years; for doctors and family to understand her emergency delivery and medical outcome. The pregnancy was textbook and there were no reasons or incidents that would have caused the vast amount of problems Hannah has endured. After scanning her brain, the doctors had some answers. The Neurologist at Sick Kids informed the family that their tiny baby girl, Hannah, had a severe stroke while in utero, causing cysts on her brain. Hannah will never walk or talk, and will require a great deal of special care throughout her life.
Hannah was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Cortical Visual Blindness, severe reflux and has a small hole in her heart. Hannah requires 24 hour care; she has a G-tube for nutritional needs, and is wheelchair dependent.
At age seven, Hannah has out grown her car seat and is too big to be lifted in and out of the back of the vehicle. She requires her wheelchair that has the proper supports and safety for travel. The need to transport Hannah to Sick Kids appointments in Toronto, 5 Counties appointments in Peterborough, local pediatric appointments, and along with driving her to and from school is fundamental. Every week the calendar is filled with appointments or trips to the drug store to fill one of her numerous medications which are critical to her care. Their family minivan has done many miles.
A special needs child comes with numerous unexpected and countless additional expenses. As both parents are employed full time, the family does not qualify for financial aid programs. As Hannah grows, so does her need for larger, expensive equipment. Hannah is in need of a lift in her home, a proper bed for her specific needs and various other items that continually mount. Most importantly the family requires a wheelchair van which can be more than double the price of a conventional van.
You have the chance to help Hannah along the way by donating to the vanTol family. Although Hannah is restricted by continuous hardships, her brilliant smile and laughter is enough for the family to push through each and every day.
To contact the vanTol family for personal or business sponsorships, updates or just to say hello, email: [email redacted]
Please share with friends and family by email, Facebook and Twitter! Every penny counts!
~ URSULA (Hannah's cousin)
Helping Hannah Along the Way...
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