As the parent of a child with complex medical needs, Kiel Lee is an around-the-clock caregiver. It’s a role he loves but knows too well it can also be exhausting, isolating and often overwhelming. The thought of taking a break and entrusting the care of his son Kaden to someone else has never been a consideration. That is, until he discovered ErinoakKids.
Kiel’s son Kaden is medically fragile and technology dependent. He has DiGeorge syndrome, a condition that results in the poor development of several body systems, including the heart and immune system. At three years old, Kaden is just starting to walk and relies on a tracheostomy tube, a tube that passes through his neck into his windpipe, to help him breathe.
In need of help with Kaden’s development, Kiel came to ErinoakKids. Here, Kaden receives a number of services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and audiology, and attends Respite Camp.
Respite Camp provides temporary relief to parents of children with extraordinary needs, and the constant and unique demands that come along with it. It’s also an opportunity for a child to interact with the community, participate in therapy and play while being tenderly cared for by qualified staff.
Despite its benefits, leaving Kaden at Respite Camp for the first time was difficult for Kiel.
“In the beginning, I was a little bit shaky. I didn’t think I could actually leave him there without me,” Kiel explains. “I worried he wouldn’t get the same care that I’m able to provide him.”
However, Kaden is thriving at Respite Camp. “Kaden has made huge strides at Respite Camp,” says ErinoakKids Respite Nurse Laura Sacks. “He engages with other children more than ever before, participates in arts and crafts, and is building his motor skills with toy play.”
And it’s not just Respite Camp staff that have noticed how far Kaden has come – the whole ErinoakKids team has witnessed his progress.
“His development has improved since he started coming to ErinoakKids,” says Chrissy Cocca, Kaden and Kiel’s Service Navigator. “He’s starting to walk and is now using more sounds to communicate.”
Watching his son progress and reach these developmental milestones at Respite Camp has been wonderful for Kiel. Leaving Kaden in the hands of someone else is no longer a worry.
“I can get a little relief,” Kiel says. “It’s so comforting to know he’s in a good environment, getting good care and developing in ways I never thought possible.”
How do you help make the impossible possible?
Every day we see children overcoming their adversities. By using a little creativity and adaptation, whether that’s helping them paint with their feet when they’re unable to use their hands, or using a custom floatation device in the pool, I can help to make anything possible for my clients.” – Laura Sacks, Respite Registered Practical Nurse