Little Warriors Reunion

I was so excited when Rylie’s mom contacted me about the possibility of a photo session for four heart families. Aimee was planning a reunion for these families who had all met in June when their little warriors were in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Three of the four babies are at home and Maverick is being transferred to the Health Science Centre Hospital in Manitoba this coming week.


When I asked how they had all met one of the moms told me, “We had all the trouble babies! Three of these guys were on ECMO.”

I heard from Aimee just prior to my son, Kane’s surgery and I knew, whether Kane was in hospital or not, this was something I couldn’t miss. I was definitely in need of cardiac success stories!


Rylie was featured in my October post, What’s Not to Love. She just turned one and has undergone two heart surgeries.


Maverick was one of my original Ronald McDonald House voluntography sessions way back in September.


I hadn’t met Sawyer-Mae before, but I have followed her journey on her Facebook page.


It was also my first time meeting Giulia and her family.

The moms organized their reunion for January 1st and agreed to have it in the Healing Garden at the Stollery so that I could pop over from Kane’s unit. Fortunately, Kane ended up coming home from the hospital the day before and he hung out with Daddy while I went off to capture these strong and beautiful families.


Travis, Sawyer-Mae & Ashley drove up from Calgary for the occasion.


Richard, Rylie, Brooklyn & Aimee

When I asked Aimee why she organized the reunion and brought me in, she replied, “2013 was hard on all of us. New year, new perspective.” It’s clear that these families have built amazing relationships during not so amazing circumstances.


Only recently, at Maverick’s Miracle Party, did I get to meet the rest of The Vanderzwaag boys: Colten, Brody & Dave. Maverick was given a 5% chance of ever going home. His surgeon, Dr. Ross, said if he makes it we’re having a party. And on December 23rd they did!


Rachel has a detailed Facebook page called Miracle for Maverick which describes his journey. This family has been through a lot! Seven month old Maverick has had 26 invasive surgeries.


I absolutely love this picture of the Trulli family: three year old Alessia, Rossella, Sandro & Giulia. Seven month old Giulia was discharged in September, but will be back at the Stollery in January for a gut surgery.

I am continually impressed by what families can endure and it was my pleasure to participate in their day.


Baby love


We’re so proud of you, Maverick! Looking forward to seeing posts of you in Manitoba.


Two year old Brooklyn was busy throwing coins in the fountain. I’m not sure what she was wishing for, but my wish is that each of these families have a happy and healthy new year.

Aimee asked for us to remember Jazlyn’s parents, Jenine and Jesse, who were an equally important part of this group. You are always in our thoughts, sweet Jazlyn.

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