Emma wants to be a photographer one day and use a lens to show the world what she sees.
“It would be cool for others to see the point of view of someone in a wheelchair,” said the 15-year-old who just started high school this year.
Thanks to your support, Emma’s life is finally in focus.
She’s come such a long way from her first day at Holland Bloorview back in 2012, after having been at Sick Kids for several months which included a short period of time on life support.
Emma has mitochondrial disease – a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the body’s cells fail to produce enough energy for cell or organ function. She was also diagnosed with autism when she was eight years old.
When Emma arrived at Holland Bloorview, she couldn’t walk or talk. She couldn’t even breathe or swallow on her own.
Countless hours of therapy and treatments followed – respiratory therapy, physiotherapy, feeding and swallowing therapy, speech and language pathology and other services.
She vividly remembers the big steps of breathing without a ventilator and being able to eat on her own.
“Holland Bloorview is where I learned to live again…to speak again, walk again and talk again,” said Emma.
She’s gone from not being able to say a word, to captivating audiences as a public speaker. As a Holland Bloorview Ambassador, she speaks to schools about her recovery journey and about childhood disability awareness.
Emma knows the road ahead won’t be easy. It will be strewn with challenges and obstacles. But she’s determined to “become the girl I want to be,” she said.
That includes growing up, maybe having a family of her own, and following passions like photography.
When setbacks happen, she finds strength in her family, and takes comfort knowing she has the tireless support of her extended family at Holland Bloorview…and that includes donors like you.
“Coming back for visits and appointments is really heart-warming because I love the energy around this hospital,” she said. “This is a really powerful place…Holland Bloorview is my second home.”