“Wesley is leaps and bounds over what we imagined.”
My five-year-old son just completed his first triathlon. While any five-year-old doing a triathlon is pretty incredible, for Wesley, it’s something I never dreamed possible.
Shortly after his first birthday, doctors discovered Wesley had a malignant brain tumour. As a mom, I was so happy that he was lucky to survive this rare form of cancer. However, the chemotherapy, radiation and stem-cell transplant treatments that followed his surgery took their toll. This difficult treatment led to a stroke which affected his motor skills and speech.
When Wesley first came to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, he couldn’t roll over, he couldn’t hold his head up and he couldn’t even swallow.
Then, Holland Bloorview got my son moving.
Wesley underwent intense physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, as well as brain injury therapy. Along the way, he made friends that will last a lifetime.
His progress has been remarkable. Holland Bloorview’s therapists taught my son how to ride, swim and walk. When he’s on his bike, he grips the handlebars with two hands and you can see how proud he is. In the pool, he can swim on his own with a life jacket and loves to show off his swimming skills. In his walker, Wesley can really move.
Holland Bloorview also taught Wesley how to express his thoughts through a picture book and showed us how we could help him communicate through his book. We also recently started teaching Wesley sign language. Wesley now knows about 80 signs and is learning more every week.
When our family saw how much he loves being active, they suggested that Wesley take part in a triathlon for kids. Wesley loved the idea of an event where he could bike, swim and run around in his walker – his three favourite things! Family, friends, teachers and even total strangers cheered him on in the race. I thought my heart would burst as he crossed the finish line.
Thanks to Holland Bloorview, Wesley is training hard and crushing barriers. There’s no telling how far or how fast he will go.
– Laura, Wesley’s mom
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