My CHEO Story
In June 2018, when I was 16, I was diagnosed in CHEO’s emergency room with a spontaneous pneumothorax – a collapsed lung. As a youth with no prior medical history, I had never heard of this. My anxiety ran very high as I was told I needed to have a chest tube inserted right away, and I was whisked off to have the procedure done. After waking up in immense pain, I spent the next couple of days at 4 East, before being moved to the surgical floor, 4 West. I then needed to have surgery to fix my collapsed lung, which heightened my anxiety even more. Being on standby for surgery, I had no idea when I would have the operation. My surgeon came by on the first morning I started fasting to tell me it was time, and he arranged for a child life specialist to come see me to help calm my anxiety.
Throughout my recovery, I experienced continuous pain, anxiety, and fear that finally gradually subsided after about four months, through physical therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy. Since then, I have had another surgery and two more lung collapses, all met with far less pain and anxiety than the first. Following this experience, I became more interested in medicine and health care. Working with my doctors and nurses and seeing what they did inspired me to rethink my future. As I got ready to start grade 11 in Ottawa, I switched my social science classes to biology and chemistry and haven’t looked back since. I hope to be able to study medicine and do research in the future. I was so impressed with CHEO, their child life staff as well as their volunteers that I knew I wanted to give back to such an amazing institution. While searching for volunteer opportunities with the hospital, I found CHEO’s Youth Forum, and decided to join in August 2018. Through the Youth Forum’s facilitators I have been able to participate in amazing opportunities throughout the hospital, such as touring facilities, giving feedback on youth programs, giving presentations to the board, medical students and nursing students, as well as the Family Leader Program at the Research Institute.
Why I'm involved
I want to get involved in this work because I think that by encouraging the patient’s perspective in research, we are engaging patients on a whole new level, promoting better research outcomes.
- Patient Family Leader Advisory Committee 2021-present
- Research Project Reviewer: “Patient-oriented research priorities for pediatric hospital care: a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership”
- Letter of Support – “Patient-oriented research priorities for pediatric hospital care: a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership”
- Research Project Reviewer: General Surgery QI Committee 1+
- Pediatric Hospital Care PSP Steering Committee
- Research Project Reviewer: Examining the role of endoscopic ultrasound as a novel measure of disease activity in pediatric ulcerative colitis
- Research Project Reviewer: Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian youth who live with chronic pain and their families: A mixed method study
- National Advisory Role: Pediatric Hospital Care PSP Steering Committee Member
- Spring RGA 2022 Reviewer
- Precision Mental Health Reviewer