The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation has announced the 2019 Saskatchewan Champion Child.
On Thursday, Blake Wheeler was named as the 2019 Saskatchewan ambassador for the Champions Presented by Walmart program, which honours children who triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
Blake Wheeler, 12, is making a special tribute after a terrible childhood experience. He and his fraternal twin brother, Noah, were expected to be born prematurely but nobody was prepared for their severely premature arrival 14 weeks early.
Just after their birth, both babies were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Heart murmurs were detected in both children, but heart surgery proved to be too much for Noah, who passed away. Meanwhile, Blake was in for the fight of his life. He spent the next four months on ventilators, feeding tubes and IV lines. After 110 days, Blake was finally healthy enough to go home.
Though the odds were stacked against him, Blake grew to be an energetic 12-year-old. This year, he takes on the important role of 2019 Saskatchewan ambassador for the Champions Program, which honours remarkable children who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
“I love telling my story because I can be a voice for kids who don’t always have a voice,” Blake said. “There are kids in our province who need a children’s hospital and it’s important to support them.”
“Blake’s compelling story is an example of why it’s important to support our province’s smallest patients,” Sash Broda, Manager, Development and Engagement at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation said in a media release. “We are so proud of him for wanting to honour Noah and we know he will do an amazing job representing the sick and injured kids of Saskatchewan.”
Blake said he is proud and honoured to be a voice for other kids in hospital, and to honour Noah in a special way. As part of the Champions Program, ambassadors from across Canada are invited to attend Children’s Hospitals Week events in Ottawa. Champions and the families also travel to Walt Disney World in Orlando to meet with ambassadors from across North America.
Editor's Note: paNOW is a subsidiary of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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