HSC saved our daughter, Danika
It’s amazing how your life can change in an instant. On Thanksgiving weekend in 2012, we received the phone call every family dreads. There had been a serious car accident involving our daughters Danika, Kaitlin, and a friend. Our 12-year old daughter Danika was being rushed by ambulance to HSC Winnipeg.
Kaitlin and her friend were in shock but unharmed thanks to the airbags. Danika, however, was unconscious and in critical condition. She had sustained multiple injuries including a severe traumatic brain injury.
The HSC emergency team went straight to work. They put Danika into a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling in her brain. Medical tests confirmed that Danika’s injury affected numerous parts of her brain. Even if she survived, she could end up in a permanent vegetative state.
Our family was completely overwhelmed. The staff at HSC did everything possible to ensure that we were included with every aspect of Danika’s care and treatment. They were incredibly supportive, caring and compassionate to our entire family.
Nine days later, medical teams told us that Danika required brain surgery due to life threatening complications. They also explained the risks of the surgery. Danika was extremely weak and fragile; her chance of survival was guarded. If she survived the surgery, she could be left with permanent deficits. We had 45 minutes to decide.
We were not giving up on Danika.
We will never forget the incredible care and compassion from the HSC staff that filled Danika’s hospital room as we prepared her for this delicate and time-sensitive procedure. We relied heavily on our spiritual beliefs, our faith in the HSC medical team and in Danika, and the outpouring of prayers and support from family and community.
Pictured: Danika in Rehab at HSC
Despite numerous complications, we were overjoyed when Danika woke up from her coma in late October. For days, she was very agitated and disorientated as she was weaned from the tubes, medication, and machines that were keeping her alive. She kept asking for her family even though we were standing right in front of her. As parents, it was difficult to witness. At the same time, we were grateful and blessed to see her alive.
With the incredible rehabilitation support, Danika soon came to recognize us and process things. She had to relearn the basics of eating, talking and walking. One day when asked what flavor of pudding she would like, she uttered her first word: vanilla. We were ecstatic.
We were thrilled to learn that Danika would be home for Christmas, where she would continue receiving support from HSC.
Due to her brain injury, Danika has had to make a number of changes in her life. A passionate ringette player, she had to stop playing because of the potential risks involved with any contact sport. But now she volunteers as a coach so she can stay close to the sport she loves. Going to school half-time and studying at home leaves her fatigued. However, because of Danika’s resilience and determination, she graduated from high school with her friends in 2017.
They say it takes a community to raise a child…well it certainly took a community to bring our daughter back to where she is now.
Danika and our entire family are forever grateful for the care that she received from the HSC teams in Emergency, the ICU, Neurology, and Rehab. Danika is alive and survived because they supported us with an incredible level of professionalism and humanity.
From all of us, we are grateful to you, the HSC donors. You saved our daughter’s life. Your continuing gifts and thoughtful generosity supports world-class surgical health care right here at home. And your gifts will save countless more lives in the years to come.
Please make your donation, like we have, to the HSC Foundation today. Your gifts make a difference for patients like Danika. They provide families like ours with something priceless: time with each other, and a lifetime of new memories to cherish.
From a grateful father and our family, thank you.
Pictured: Danika with parents Alain and Barbie