North Delta’s Colton Hasebe is BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child.
In a ceremony Tuesday morning at the foundation’s office in Vancouver attended by the Hasebe family, friends and representatives from the BCCHF and presenting sponsor Walmart Canada, the 12-year-old Richardson Elementary student took the reigns from 2017 Champion Child Taylin McGill.
“I’m really excited for the year ahead. It is such a privilege to be chosen as the 2018 Champion Child,” Colton said. “When I found out I was chosen, it was the most excited I had been in a very long time. It was one of the happiest days of my life.”
As a champion child, Colton and his family will be present at many major fundraising events for the hospital, speaking about his story and how the hospital has impacted him. He’ll also get to spend two weeks in March in Ottawa and Orlando, meeting other children representing hospitals around North America.
Taylin, 16, of Tsawwassen had some words of advice for her successor and fellow Deltan.
“Just have fun. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity from people everywhere. Get to know the other Champion Children and families as they, like you, have such incredible stories to share. Hearing their journey will change your life forever,” she said. “Colton, get ready to be recognized everywhere.”
Colton’s story is a harrowing one. On Dec. 19, 2015, Colton suffered an asthma attack. His dad, Kevin Hasebe, drove him to BC Children’s Hospital at 3 a.m. When they got there, Colton collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
For 10 days, Colton was in the intensive care unit, where his family and caregivers waited until he could breath on his own. But when Colton came off the sedation, he couldn’t see. His voice was slurred and his body was weak. His brain, which had been deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes while he was in cardiac arrest, was swelling.
After his 10 days in the ICU, Colton was transferred to Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. There, he made a nearly full recovery in only one month. Although Colton does have some permanent brain damage — he has a tremor in his hands when he uses fine motor skills and he slurs slightly when he talks — he has been able to return to a normal preteen life.
Lsat year Colton and his family went about raising money for the hospital’s emergency room as a way of giving back to those who helped save his life, and a few months later presented a cheque for $12,790 live on television during the 2017 Miracle Weekend broadcast.
“I guess they like his story because it has a fairly good outcome, you know, from what happened to him,” Kevin told the Reporter, “and the fact that if it happened anywhere else he wouldn’t have made it.”
- with files from Grace Kennedy