Within a few weeks of being born, something started happening to Baby Beckett. He would have episodes where his breathing would change, he would foam at the mouth and his eyes would roll. It took a little while between referrals and testing, but eventually specialists were able to determine Beckett had epilepsy and was suffering up to 30 seizures a day. An MRI identified a calcification in his brain that could be the cause of the seizures.
The Blanchards’ neurologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jeffrey Buchhalter, opted to try medication as an initial treatment. The medication did help – reducing frequency of the seizures – however Beckett still wasn’t hitting milestones. Specialists ran EEG testing and were able to determine that the calcification (later determined to be a non-cancerous tumour) was causing the seizures. Neurologist Dr. Luis Bello, suggested brain surgery, so in April of 2016, Beckett went into a three-hour operation by neurosurgeon Dr. Walter Hader. It was the longest three-hours of Pam and Jayson’s lives, but Pam says they had complete confidence in Dr. Hader and were never worried about the hands their son was in.
The surgery went smoothly with no complications. Dr. Hader and his team were able to remove most of the tumour and also removed the amygdala and hippocampus, which had been impacted by the seizures. Today, Beckett is seizure-free and has been able to go down to half the medication he was on previously. He has a developmental delay due to all of the seizures and is working on his speech and fine motor skills, but Pam and Jayson are optimistic he will lead a normal life.
The family was so grateful for the care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital that they were inspired to organize a fundraiser in order to give back. On Nov. 5, 2016, they hosted Rock for a Cause – a benefit concert by Jayson’s band, the Parlayzers, as well as a silent auction and raffle with a goal of raising $1,500 for the hospital. It ended up raising nearly $20,000!