Parker Corner Brook, NL
At 18 weeks of pregnancy, Crystal and Mike learned something no future parents want to hear – their yet-to-be-born son, Parker, was not well. He had pulmonary artery stenosis, which meant the right ventricle in his heart was not operating properly. The couple would need to go from their home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland to St. John’s to see a specialist at Janeway Hospital.
Upon arrival at Janeway, Crystal and Mike got worse news: there were few options for helping Parker, none of which were realities for the young family. Luckily, specialists at Toronto SickKids Hospital were sent the case for review and came up with an alternative – an in-utero operation that would dilate a balloon in Parker’s pulmonary artery to help blood flow. While this was the only option available, getting to Toronto was difficult for the family due to travel costs.
“The visits to Toronto weren’t possible for us,” explains Mike. “The costs were simply too high. A friend of my dad told us about Hope Air and the potential for a free flight to Toronto, which likely saved Parker’s life.”
Crystal and Parker became only the eleventh case to receive the in-utero balloon dilation in SickKids’ history. When Parker was finally born, he had to undergo another heart surgery at one day old because his right ventricle was still not pumping sufficient blood to his lungs.
“There wouldn’t have been a way to get to Toronto if not for free airfare, which would have meant no operations, and probably no Parker.”
Finally, after weeks of recovery and uncertainty, doctors told Crystal and Mike that Parker was ready to go home to Newfoundland. “No words can describe how thankful we all are for Hope Air,” says Crystal. “There wouldn’t have been a way to get to Toronto if not for free airfare, which would have meant no operations, and probably no Parker.”
“Parker still has a lot of medical issues to deal with and a long journey, but we’re confident that his heart is improving and will function properly as he grows,” says Mike. “We don’t know where we’d be without Hope Air.”