December 3 to December 8th, 

It’s Mile Matching Week! From now until December 8, 2019, @Aeroplan will match every mile donated to the @fondation_aircanada_foundation, up to 500,000 Aeroplan Miles. Help us help more children get the medical care they need away from home by donating your extra miles today.

Jacelynn is a happy 7-year-old from Amherst, Nova Scotia. This past summer, Jacelynn underwent a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a surgery performed to help some children who are affected with cerebral palsy (CP) to walk.

Cerebral palsy affects roughly 2.5 out of every 1,000 babies born in Canada every year, and is caused by abnormal brain development or a brain injury during pregnancy or birth. The spasticity caused by CP makes it difficult or impossible for children to move their limbs and affects their joints. Those who do learn to walk often do so on their tiptoes with their knees close together so that they need a wheelchair. The SDR procedure involves exposing the nerves in the spinal column and cutting some nerve fibers that cause muscle tightness using electrical pulses. The nerves that properly control movement are left intact.

Jacelynn’s kept telling her grand-mother Vickie, “I just want to get up and walk!” Now, after the surgery at The Montreal Children’s Hospital and six weeks of intensive rehabilitation at Shriners Hospitals for Children- Canada, she can and she does!

According to Vickie, the first week was difficult while Jacelynn found her way with the support of her physiotherapist. Jacelynn quickly bounced back, always wanting to do more, to push further and today she is walking with canes or her walker. There has been so much improvement that Vickie plans on storing Jacelynn’s wheelchair in the basement for one year as a back-up, and then giving it to another family who might need it. Jacelynn has thrived in physiotherapy, discovering a love for water in aqua therapy. Jacelynn is back in school with all of her friends. She hopes to be a teacher one day!

“In the last two years we have travelled to Canada Shriners Hospital for Jacelynn’s assessments and this past summer, for her surgery and 6 week recovery giving her the ability to walk at the age of 7! I could not imagine doing this on my own.  We have had the support of local  Shriners in Halifax and Montreal helping us with food, lodging and transport, flying with Air Canada thanks to the Air Canada Foundation taking a lot of our worries away. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and encouraging every step of the way ” says Vickie. She goes on to say “and the staff at the have that same encouraging, warm and friendly attitude, so much so that this hospital felt like a home away from home in a matter of days. I can tell you that we do not regret our decision, it was the best we could have ever made.”  Vickie foresees a life with a lot more independence and autonomy for Jacelynn. She is looking forward to spending more quality fun time together rather than always focusing on improving her condition.