SickKids Foundation (in honour of GRAYSON'S GRATITUDE

My husband Chris and I met in 2010 and married in 2013. Coming from two very different backgrounds, Chris a Commercial Producer and I, a Nurse-Lawyer, we really could not have been more opposite but what became clear was that we brought out the most exciting parts of one another. In 2015, we welcomed our baby boy Grayson and at that point, we knew our family was complete.

In 2018, in celebration of our five-year wedding anniversary, we planned a holiday to Mexico. Reluctant to leave Grayson behind, he joined us. The trip was perfect in every way but what occurred on our return was something that we could have never imagined.

Grayson who was just 2.5 years old at the time, started to experience severe vomiting and diarrhea because he had contracted E-coli. The exact cause will never be known but some think that he contracted it in Mexico while others think he may have been exposed in Toronto from recalled food that had not been packaged properly.

Once admitted to SickKids, Grayson suffered the most severe complication from E-coli called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). His kidneys went into failure and he had to have surgery for the insertion of a peritoneal dialysis catheter. He was started on 24-hour dialysis so that his little body could focus on fighting the HUS and the dialysis could take over his regular kidney function.

Our journey felt endless. While at SickKids, Grayson was at risk of infection, his muscles atrophied to the point where he was unable to walk, and he had to have several blood transfusions. We would have loved to see a cure for his condition and not be told that we had to wait and watch to see if Grayson would recover on his own.

Although Grayson is now on the mend and his recovery is headed in the right direction, his life as we knew it has changed forever. Even with full recovery, he continues to be at risk for high blood pressure or other kidney problems in the years ahead.

Approximately one year later, Chris and I co-founded GRAYSON'S GRATITUDE, a fundraiser with all proceeds being sent through the SickKids Foundation in Grayson’s honour. This sentiment could not be more indicative of what we learned through this awful journey. We are so grateful for Grayson’s recovery, the care he received and the valuable lesson we learned about appreciating each day to its fullest. Our goal is to raise awareness and funds to support future kidney research so that other families may not have to experience what we did. We as a family live in fear about Grayson’s future and we hope that additional research may prevent risk for him.

When Bonni Ellis shared the amazing initiative that Lerners is embarking on in celebration of your 90th year, we were so grateful for the opportunity to be considered. For additional information about GRAYSON’S GRATITUDE, please visit www.graysons-gratitude.com.

- Farah

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