Holly and Corey Smith along with their team of family and friends have been longtime participants of the Kinsmen Club of Sackville Curling Funspiel and the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History. Holly also sits on the Funspiel planning committee and took time to share her story with Kinsmen Andy Robinson.
Holly is not a Kin member, but she became involved in the Kinsmen Club of Sackville Curling Funspiel when her daughter Hailey was diagnosed with CF. Here is her story of why she supports this fundraiser. Holly, Hailey, and the Kinsmen Club of Sackville hoped you enjoyed the event on February 24.
Hailey Smith was born almost 12 weeks premature in July 2004. Within two days she’d had the first of 10 operations, this first one to remove a bowel blockage – a common complication for newborn cystic fibrosis patients. She spent her first six months in the Intensive Care Unit at the IWK – six tough, trying months for her young parents. When Hailey finally came home she weighed 8lbs 4oz and she needed to be on oxygen 24 hours a day.
Her mom Holly was just 27 when she had Hailey. Overnight, she and her husband Corey were thrust into the endless round of treatments, surgeries and trauma all too common for parents of cystic fibrosis patients. She quickly became firm friends with the doctors, nurses and clinical staff in the CF clinic at the IWK.
“We are very lucky to have all of Hailey's medication costs covered,” says Holly. “Not everyone has that advantage.”
Holly describes daily life for Hailey. “Every day Hailey has three mask treatments to help clear the sticky mucus in her lungs. She also has three chest physio sessions, and then she uses a breathing device to increase lung capacity. Each of these sessions takes about 40 minutes. It can be really hard on a young girl who just wants to play, but it is all essential to keep her healthy.”
Hailey is now 13 and a student at Sackville Heights Junior High. She’s a normal kid in so many ways. She loves playing basketball, her dog Gibbs, her brother Jack, and she loves her friends. Holly works hard to give Hailey this normality. She’s taught Hailey how to care for herself, and the importance of her daily medications and treatments.
“It is a worry for us when she goes to school or a birthday party. Will she eat right? Will she remember her medications? CF patients need to take meds every time they eat because they can’t absorb fat like healthy people. It’s good to see how things have improved now that she is older. She is very aware of her condition, her lung capacity has improved as she has grown, but colds and bowel problems are a constant worry.”
“As a family, we’ve been involved in the Kinsmen Curling Funspiel for the past 11 years. It is a really fun event that we are happy to be a part of. Kinsmen raise so much money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada and I see this as my chance to give back and help find a cure for Hailey and all the other children afflicted with this disease. I just want her to have the long, healthy life she so richly deserves.”