I felt so powerless Erin Mitchell, Sean's Mom

As a mother, I felt so powerless the day my son, Sean, was first admitted to the hospital.

Sean had been a healthy baby and toddler but things started to change when he was 4 years old. He was lethargic all the time and his face became puffy and swollen. His symptoms kept getting worse so my husband and I took him to the Emergency Department at Royal Inland Hospital.

The next 24 hours are a bit of a blur. The RIH medical team was concerned with his condition and within a day, he had been admitted to the Pediatrics Unit at RIH and diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome.

Nephrotic Syndrome is caused by kidney damage with symptoms that include protein in the urine and significant swelling. It is a serious, life-threatening disease if not diagnosed and treated properly.

Trips to Vancouver to see a pediatric nephrologist at BC Children’s Hospital were also a regular occurrence for us until recently. Now, the specialist travels from Vancouver to Kamloops every six months and runs an outpatient clinic in the RIH Pediatrics Unit where Sean can have his check-ups. Local access to this specialized care has had a tremendous impact on our family.

Coincidentally, my husband, Ian, and I are both health care professionals at RIH. Since our experience with Sean and his diagnosis, I was inspired to work specifically with kidney patients and I am now a LPN in the Renal Unit at RIH.

In this role, I see firsthand how staff and departments from throughout the hospital work as a team to ensure patients receive high quality care. New technology, medical tools and staff professional development are just a few of the ways that your donation to RIH can have a huge impact on patients and their families.

Sean is now nine years old and has been in remission for two and a half years. He is in Grade Four, loves to dance and recently performed in the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker production. His current career aspirations are to pursue his love of dancing or become a neurosurgeon. Regardless of what he decides, I’m simply relieved he has these choices because of the life-saving care he received at RIH.

Also grateful for all his care, Sean decided to give back to the hospital and recently donated four tickets for the Nutcracker production to RIH. The tickets were then raffled off to deserving staff.

With a donation to RIH this holiday season, you are contributing to specialized care and treatment for children like Sean. Your donation will support the purchase of critical medical tools and equipment that the health care team use to diagnose and treat patients at our local hospital.

Every donation you make to RIH helps the medical team save lives.

As a mother, nurse and fellow community member, thank you for your ongoing commitment to making our hospital a place we can all rely on for care when we need it most.

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