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On last year’s Radiothon, we met a brave kid named Reid who had gone into congestive heart failure after a virus mutated and attacked his heart. He was waiting patiently for a life-saving heart transplant and fortunately, he was able to do so because of advanced technology available to him through the Alberta Children’s Hospital. A device called an HVAD inserted into his chest and connected to controls outside his body that he wore in a backpack allowed Reid to temporarily live with his failing heart.
We shared Reid’s story on Radiothon to demonstrate the importance of technology like the HVAD and the expertise of the specialists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The overwhelming generosity of the community helped raise the money to purchase an HVAD monitor, controller and batteries so that other kids just like Reid can be helped.
Shortly after Radiothon, a heart became available for Reid and he underwent a successful transplant. He began a long but steady recovery and was even able to travel to Vancouver Island with his family on vacation last summer. For most kids, the thought of returning to school after summer vacation is depressing. For Reid, he was thrilled.
Sadly, after only a few days back with his classmates, Reid started to feel unwell. Back in hospital, he was undergoing several tests to try to determine what might be causing his stomach pain and discomfort. In the back of her mind, Cindy knew this could be a transplant complication known as Post Transplant Lymphoma Disorder (PTLD) and sure enough, it was. While treatable, it meant that Reid was now going to add a cancer journey to his already very complicated road.
With a grace beyond his years, Reid has taken on this incredible fight and been a source of strength and inspiration for his entire family and community. He is close to the end of his chemo treatment and scans have revealed that the masses in his stomach and intestines have responded beyond anyone’s expectations. Reid can’t wait to get back to school with his friends!