Megan's mom, Amber initially learned about Niagara Children’s Centre when she was a student at Brock University. At the time, she was amazed by the work being done at the Centre and marvelled at how well they supported children with special needs. She had no idea that a decade later her family would walk through the front doors with her daughter, Megan. 

Megan was born was low muscle tone, which led to a later diagnosis of partial Mosaic Trisomy 8, a chromosomal abnormality that can affect many parts of the body. As a baby, Megan struggled to sustain her vitals and needed immediate support to do basic but crucial things such as swallowing and positioning her body to keep an open airway.

It wasn’t until week six of Megan’s life that she was released from McMaster Children’s Hospital. She was immediately referred to Niagara Children’s Centre upon release as Megan’s medical team knew that there would be lifelong complications requiring the support of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and later, Speech Therapy.

"It’s hard to describe the way you feel when you find out your newborn baby will have significant, life altering challenges," shares Amber. "I was completely overwhelmed and did not even know how to help my baby girl. As you begin to understand your new reality, the hopes, dreams and expectations you once had are suddenly altered."

Now, at 9 years old, she is living a good life. Megan is supported not only by her parents, but her two brothers, Griffin (13) and Hudson (12). The family loves to spend time together in nature. With Megan’s limitations, they've had to be creative in finding ways to do so. They enjoy biking and exploring the world together, along with swimming, which happens to be one of Megan’s greatest strengths and joys.

With a fragile spine and a body that struggles to move, finding ways to keep Megan active, healthy, and an involved member in her community has been a challenge. Her family is so thankful for the Recreational Therapy Program that supports us as they navigate this challenge.

"I cannot imagine navigating through the past nine years without the knowledgeable and the very capable staff that has walked the journey with us at Niagara Children’s Centre. When we began at the Centre we worked on the basics such as strengthening Megan’s body to sustain her airway. As time progressed we worked on: standing, walking, climbing, jumping, riding a tricycle, throwing a ball, chewing food, holding a cup, putting on a shoe, communicating using pictures, communicating using words; the list goes on."

Every single milestone, except for smiling, has required intensive support and a lot of work on Megan‘s part. Alongside each one of her milestones has been her team, planning next steps and helping her make continued gains.

Currently, Megan is working on therapeutic goals related to self-care, physical endurance, and developing relationships with others. The Recreational Therapy program at Niagara Children’s Centre has been helping with the latter two. 

"Our hope for Megan is that she knows kindness, love, and acceptance for herself and from others. We hope that she will always feel supported by her family and community as she works so hard at finding independence despite her challenges and inclusion in the world around her.

We ask that you support Niagara Children’s Centre because the work that they do is truly life changing. I never thought I would need the services of the Centre, but I did. I’m thankful for the people here who have given, and continue to give, in order to create such an amazing space where children with special needs can thrive."

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