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Toby’s Story

Toby’s Rehab Journey

Toby’s mom, Mignon, shares her family’s story:

We started the pandemic in the worst way possible when our little boy had a stroke. Every parent’s nightmare came true for us. Our active eight-year-old was suddenly in the operating room for brain surgery after coming down with headaches and vomiting.

It was the hardest time of our family’s life. Toby woke up after surgery unable to move—not even his eyes. But there was a small sign of hope—he was biting down on the tubing in his mouth. Our hope and faith were challenged in those early days as Toby went through multiple operations. We never knew if he’d recognize us when he woke up. We never knew if he’d walk and talk again, or even regain the use of his arms.

But every day brought us small miracles. Tiny increments of improvement.

Until one day, he could produce enough of a smile to be discharged from the acute care hospital and sent to the Glenrose Hospital for rehabilitation.

The Glenrose become our home, our family, our lifeline and our place of more miracles. Big miracles.

Toby’s stroke happened in March of 2020, and he entered the Glenrose in June 2020, in a wheelchair. He stayed as an inpatient until January 2021, when he walked out on his own two feet.

The stroke was devastating. I’m sure anyone can imagine the fear a parent experiences seeing their child lose all their capabilities—and the tears, both ours and Toby’s. And then there was the exhaustion and frustration as Toby worked hard to regain all his skills with the help of the incredible staff at the Glenrose.

But, there were also moments of elation. Seeing his victories, day by day and week by week, was a balm for our souls. Over that time, he learned to walk again. He went from tube feeding to eating solid foods again (a cheeseburger was his first choice)! He worked on speaking again, regaining fine motor skills and strengthening his right arm, which had become weaker than his left.

And while he did it all with hard work, the staff at the Glenrose made it as fun, inspiring and rewarding as possible.

Whether Toby was using the incredible facilities of the Oilers Interactive Learning Centre, the playroom, the walking machine or doing music therapy, speech therapy or crafts, the staff knew how to connect with him and keep his spirits up and his mind motivated.

Even watching videos about tarantulas with Glenrose staff inspired him during his therapy!

The care at the Glenrose was exceptional, and it didn’t stop with Toby. They extended their compassion and expertise to our whole family. When we first arrived, they noticed how tired my husband and I were because we didn’t like to leave Toby’s side while he slept at night. So they arranged for an overnight nursing assistant so we could get some sleep. When we got the okay for Toby to go home for weekend visits, they sent everything we needed home with us, including medications, with simple instructions on how to do it all. Having the chance to go home for visits meant so much to Toby. And the first outdoor visits when family could come and see him at the Glenrose were incredibly emotional. Not just for Toby, but for his grandparents and siblings too.

Today, I feel so blessed that Toby received such exemplary care at the Glenrose. They provided everything he needed to get his life back. And the staff are experts at what they do, while being so compassionate at the same time. The Glenrose even reached out to Toby’s school to ensure a smooth transition. He has the support he needs at school and he’s thriving in grade five. He even reached a goal that he set out for himself at the Glenrose—to be able to climb the monkey bars like his friends.

Everyone, from the staff at the Glenrose to the donors that support the hospital have our deepest gratitude. You’ve touched our lives more than you know!

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