When the little things become “big things”: Zack’s Story
Published on: December 13, 2019
Around the young age when most children are entering elementary school for the first time, Zack entered Emily’s House children’s hospice. Zack was “the one” in the family who could make everyone happy. He did household chores with his grandma. He loved his big family, being outdoors, dancing, and the wide, wheelchair-accessible hallway that enabled him to race between the front and back of his house on his scooter assistive devise. So, when he was admitted to Emily’s House, he got mad. He stopped talking and his family thought Zack was depressed.
The frontline care team at Emily’s House spent time with Zack as they managed his complex medical care needs. They learned a lot about him from talking with his family, and from observing his reactions to small things. … Soon, they realized he was upset because he missed the things of home, especially being outside. Although it was 10 pm when they figured it out, they asked him if he wanted to go outside. He could look at the stars.
The moment he reached the patio, this child, who had been uncharacteristically quiet for far too long, started screaming – with happiness. He erupted with sounds of joy and giant smiles. In the days that followed, they took him for outdoor excursions in the neighborhood, and Zack made joyful sounds all the while. He participated in the Emily’s House daily recreational play program, and shared the fun with his siblings. The team also brought everyone together for a dance party featuring Zack’s favourite music, because what Zack loved most of all was to see his whole family happy.
Emily’s House reconnected this child with his natural joy, and helped him create new and special memories with his family, by recognizing and responding to the little things important to Zack. When it comes to end-of-life care, the little things can become “big things.”
While every child, adult and sibling are different, the intention is that every individual who receives hospice care through our Emily’s House / Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care (PAC) programs will be similarly enlivened for a time. It may involve star gazing, outings, celebrations, a first dance, a trip to the beach, hockey, games of scrabble, high tea, legacy songs, or any of a million “little things.”
Your donation will provide access to quality-of-life programming for children with complex disability and a life-limiting illness, in addition to 24/7 medical care. Your support will enable recreational play, music therapy, local excursions, and Saturday morning dance parties; provide in-home visitation, bereavement supports for entire families; or, recruit, train and deploy much-needed hospice volunteers. You will add life to days for children or adults, and their family members. … You will help make “big things” possible.
To help provide timely access to our hospice program supports – for children, adults, siblings and caregivers — please donate today.
MATCHING GIFT – Double the impact of your giving when you give the gift of hospice. Donations received by December 31, 2019 will be matched (up to a total of $50,000 by the Michael and Carol Mueller Family Foundation).