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Meet our 2018 Champion Child

Twelve-year-old Colton Hasebe was at school when his mom, Rachel, received a call, letting her know Colton had been chosen as the 2018 Champion Child presented by Walmart. When Rachel described what the role of honorary patient ambassador would mean—TV interviews, visits with the Vancouver Canucks, appearing on the jumbotron at Vancouver Whitecaps FC games, spending two weeks in Ottawa and Orlando meeting other children representing hospitals around North America—Colton was grinning from ear-to-ear. “That was the most excited I had been in a while,” Colton said.

Not every call Rachel has received from Children’s Hospital has been good news, though. Colton, now an articulate, reserved young man with a beaming smile, has come a long way since suffering a heart attack at the age of 10.

In December 2015, when Colton was wheezing and couldn’t get relief from his asthma inhaler, his dad Kevin brought him to emergency at BC Children’s Hospital.
When they got to the counter, Colton collapsed. “A whole bunch of people showed up and started CPR on him right away,” Kevin said. “I was in shock, but I know what that means—there’s no pulse and he’s not breathing.”

Colton’s asthma attack caused him to go into cardiac arrest. He stopped breathing and lost his heartbeat for 15 minutes, while doctors and nurses fought to resuscitate him. After several rounds of compressions and medication, his pulse came back. By that time, however, brain damage had already set in.

“He lost everything. He was slurring his words and had no mobility on his left side. He had a feeding tube, he couldn’t speak, he couldn’t see. He seemed lost. It was Sunny Hill that brought Colton back to us,” Kevin said. “He’s worked so hard, and has overcome so much."

After ten days at the hospital, Colton was moved to Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. His treatment team included occupational therapists and physiotherapists to help him walk again. Colton also worked with a speech and language therapist and teachers from Sunny Hill’s school program.

Colton has been called “a miracle” by Dr. Garth Meckler, head of Emergency Medicine at BC Children’s Hospital. “The brain is quite dependent on oxygen, sugar and glucose and if it’s deprived of either for more than three to five minutes, you can see effects similar to a stroke,” said Meckler. “Things like this, that we train for, probably happen a couple of times in someone’s career. And we were just very lucky to have everyone in the right place at the right time”.

Colton continues to thrive in his recovery. He is back to most of the activities that he enjoyed before his injury, recently earning his green belt in karate. He is a proud big brother to his three siblings, and is continuing to develop his fine motor skills through his love of Lego.

“We are so grateful to have our son home with us at our dinner table every night, instead of us staring at an empty chair where he once sat,” said Rachel. “He’s worked so hard, and has overcome so much. He’s the most impressive person we have ever met.”

We would like to recognize the ongoing support the Champion Child program receives from Walmart. Since 1995, Walmart stores in BC have raised over $10 million in support of BC Children’s Hospital.


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