Jackson and William share a special bond – they are fraternal twins who are both on the autism spectrum. At Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, therapists work with the boys to enhance their communication skills and reduce aggressive behaviours.
The boys were flourishing and learning how to communicate their basic needs, but all of their progress came to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
Unable to attend in-person therapy and use virtual-care services, parents Tom and Liz practiced the strategies they learned from Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre. But after a few months, exhaustion set in and the boys regressed to their previous behaviours.
It was a challenging time for the family, but the boys resumed in-person services at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in August 2020 and they continue to develop new skills each day despite the setbacks they faced.
“They bring out the best in people,” Tom says. “They are so vulnerable, yet so full of life. We are grateful to be their parents.”
Jackson and William were selected to be Patient Ambassadors for the upcoming MacKids Walk & Wheel because of their resilience in the face of adversity. They are sharing their story to increase awareness of the life-changing services at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, and to motivate the public to register and fundraise for the event.
McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation is proud to host the 10th annual MacKids Walk & Wheel, presented by RBC. Participants are encouraged to choose their own adventure and complete their activity anytime from June 4 to 13 from the safety of their own community.
Jackson and William are thrilled to be Patient Ambassadors for MacKids Walk & Wheel 2021. Their adventure is going for six separate walks around the neighbourhood. Each boy will carry a stuffed toy during the walk to represent the 12 therapists who have helped them since they began therapy at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in 2019.
This year’s goal is to raise $150,000, with proceeds supporting the purchase of three pieces of equipment: a Uroflow System, a Point-of-Care Ultrasound System (POCUS) and a FEES Device. All three pieces of equipment are used in conjunction with patient exams to provide diagnosis and offer the clinical teams real-time information on their patients, rather than needing to schedule more comprehensive diagnostic imaging tests.
To register and fundraise, or to read the stories of our other Patient Ambassadors, visit mackids.ca/walkandwheel.
Note: Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Those wishing to sponsor or donate prizes may contact Connor Vincent at 905-521-2100 ext. 76787 or email@example.com.