CHEO Turns 40

Before my son was born, I had never given a second thought to having a children’s hospital in our community. CHEO was barely on my radar screen, and my only connection to it was through the media should it be mention on the radio, or in the news.

After my son was born, CHEO still didn’t really register for me. My friends were young and just starting their own families and no one had any real experience with taking their child to the hospital. But as a new mom, I became more aware and more in tune with illnesses that might affect young children. I understood the need to protect him from illness and injury, and the stories I heard about ‘other peoples children’ battling diseases like Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis, or being treated for injuries caused by the typical childhood accident, were now more important to me and carried a different weight of parental concern.

I am lucky to have a very healthy 10 year old boy, who has rarely needed to visit CHEO. We’ve had to wander through the doors of the Emergency Department for a suspected broken leg (age 2), pneumonia (age 2.5), and a concussion (age 9), and I’ve lamented the long wait late at night in the ED and then been grateful of the nurses and doctors who took such care and attention with him.

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  • AuthorJulie

Be a CHEO Hero This Weekend!

Last year my kids and I had the privilege of being included in a short video with the Prime Minister’s Wife, Mrs. Laureen Harper, for a great campaign with CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) for their upcoming telethon! I always say YES to anything that is involved with CHEO, since as you may (or maybe not!) know, but we have spent a quite a lot of time at CHEO with our son Mason and his clubfoot diagnosis and treatments over the past 3 years. I am also proud to be a “CHEO Mom & Dad Blogger“!

For our family, our CHEO Hero is and always will be Dr. Willis. When we found out via ultrasound in utero that our son was going to be born with a club foot, I was devastated. I was afraid that he wouldn’t walk, that he wouldn’t be ok, and that we wouldn’t be either! Over the course of 3 years, we came to realize how wrong we were in those fears, and how the amazing process that Dr. Willis and his team follow to correct club foot really is, and how it helped out son. Mason is still going to need one more major surgery on his foot in the upcoming months, and we will once again rely on CHEO and the expertise of Dr. Willis, but we are know we can trust that they will do what they do best!

Going on the same theme as last year, you can be a Hero for CHEO again in a couple ways!

1 – Supe-Yourself into a super hero of your own! You can Be a Hero for CHEO  by creating your own superhero avatar & sharing it on Facebook and/or Twitter! Thanks to an anonymous Crusader, CHEO will receive a $10 donation for every superhero YOU create! So help out the kids & make one today here: At last count, I believe they were over the $8500 mark that had been raised with super hero avatars!

Here is the ones I created for myself and the kids! ; )

Crystal Lou, Mason Moo & Ava Lou

Crystal Lou, Mason Moo & Ava Lou

2 – Another way you can be a Here for CHEO is by donating at this weekend’s CHEO Telethon! It takes place this weekend (June 7th & 8th) in Ottawa, and is broadcasted on CTV and you can also donate here. Every dollar matters no matter how big or how small and it all goes back into CHEO – our hospital, our children’s hospital.


Something else that is fun that CHEO has going on this weekend, is an open house! Have you ever wanted to ask a neurosurgeon what it’s like to perform brain surgery? Wondered what it’s like to receive a new kidney? Helped a researcher extract DNA?

CHEO’s open house on Saturday, June 7 is the perfect opportunity to talk to experts and find out how a hospital operates! Come and celebrate CHEO’s 40th anniversary the telethon and experience CHEO’s commitment to care, research, kids and families. CHEO will be open to all on June 7 from 12 PM to 4 PM only. Visitors of all ages will get a behind-the-scenes look. You can visit research labs and a surgical suite, see a butterfly garden and our famous Karsh portraits, learn about child and youth health and meet fascinating people from CHEO’s past and present.

For more information on the CHEO Open House, please read more here! Sounds like a fun event for both adults and kids alike!

Emergency Preparedness

Did you know that Emergency Preparedness Week is in May?

Does this look familiar?

If so, don’t worry. There are many things you can do to help prepare your family for an emergency, but there are 3 basic steps to getting prepared:

  1. Know the Risks
  2. Make a Plan
  3. Get a Kit

Today, I am going to focus on #3 and show you what I have been working on in my home.

I know at first look, it might seem like a big task to put together an emergency kit, but it does not have to be done in a day, and it shouldn’t be a major expense. Start with making a list and thinking about how you can use things you already have. Get Prepared is a great website that has interactive checklists to help get you started.

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We Are All in This Together!

One of the blessings of the internet is that it makes it easy for people of all ages to reach out to each other online and to share their stories. I have found it especially helpful that there are blogs and websites like this one, CHEO Mom and Dads, where parents can connect. But despite all of these resources, it can still sometimes feel as a parent that you are struggling up the mountain alone and that everyone else is more organized, is cooking healthier meals for their kids, and keeps a tidier home.

But these critical thoughts of mine were turned upside down last week. And that’s a good thing. I was taking my grandfather to a show at the National Arts Centre and a television personality was there with his family. I first caught a glimpse of this local celebrity as the individual was chasing down his toddler who was racing back into the Studio during intermission. While I enjoyed a rare night out with my grandfather, I couldn’t help but watch this parent-child duo while I sipped my wine before the second act.

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Gearing Up for Swimming Season

As of today, it looks like Spring has finally cracked winter’s icy veil (knock on wood). As Ottawa-region parents, this means swimming season isn’t too far away. In the next few blog posts, I’ll share some tips on how to make the most of this glorious time of year. Part one offers advice on gear that can help keep everyone safe, healthy and happy.

Every kids’ activity has a specialized shopping list. Happily, swimming tends to fall on the less expensive side of the spectrum. Beyond the obvious swim suits, there are a few other acoutrements that can make swimming in this region particularly enjoyable for families.

As we all know, the National Capital Region weather swings wildly between too hot, and too cold. This is particularly important to recognize when minimally clad on a summer day at a local beach, splash-park or water-park. We have a “swim bag” (a kids hockey bag) which works perfectly for flotation devices, blankets, extra layers, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc. By taking an hour at the start of the year to get that bag ready, we save a lot of running around, and can literally just jump into the mini-van on a moment’s notice. A dedicated drying rack at home allows us to keep the gear in one place while it dries for the next adventure. No more “I-don’t-want-to-go-swimming-you-forgot-my-goggles!!” from the 5 year old or the all-too-common “honey did you bring towels?”. Editor’s note: baby wipes are not a good fill-in for beach towels.

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Choosing Activities For Your Kids

kyle hiphop

Registration just opened up for spring/summer recreational activities that are run through the City of Ottawa.  It’s always difficult finding programs that the kids are interested in, are affordable and convenient both time and location wise.

For our family, we decided a long time ago that the kids would do no more than 2 activities per session. In the winter they will do a skating class and can choose another activity that interests them (hip hop, cooking, gymnastics and indoor soccer are some of the ones so far); In the spring they can choose one activity, the summer they do swimming and Mr. J plays soccer and in the fall they can choose one activity and sometimes we enroll them in swimming as well. There are a few reasons behind this decision:

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