Parents of sick toddler who beat the odds moved to tears after on-air surprise
The parents of a toddler who has lived almost his whole life in hospital were moved to tears Tuesday, when they were surprised on-air with a gift that will help provide them with "more face-to-face time" and "less Facetime."
While appearing on CTV’s Canada AM Tuesday, Desiree and Darren Lamoureux were presented with a cheque for $25,000, along with a brand new 2015 Toyota Corolla, courtesy of the Ontario Toyota Dealers Wishmaker campaign.
The gifts couldn't have come at a better time for the family.
For almost two years, Desiree Lamoureux has stayed by the side of her son, Taylum, at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital, while he battles kidney disease. She has put her life and job in Sudbury on hold to live alone in Toronto in a Ronald McDonald House.
Her husband Darren, meanwhile, continues to work 12-hour shifts as an electrician in a mine in Sudbury so they can pay their bills and keep up his health insurance benefits. He returns to an empty house most days, driving down to Toronto every few weeks to spend a few days with his wife and only child.
Taylum's illness has been hard enough for the couple; the separation from each other has only made it harder. Most days, the family only communicates through Internet chats.
Now, with the donations, Desiree says they'll be able to afford a bit more precious time together as a family.
Despite Taylum's illness, she says her son is a happy little boy who adores his father and asks about "Dadda" every morning.
Most days, Desiree has to tell Taylum his "Dadda" isn't there. She then helps get him ready for the hemodialysis treatments he needs to keep him alive every day.
Taylum was born six weeks premature by emergency C- section and diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, an inherited condition that eventually led to Taylum going into complete kidney failure. Only one in four babies with his condition survive and Taylum wasn’t expected to live more than a week.
Doctors removed his diseased kidneys and Taylum stayed strong. He now receives dialysis to clean his blood and do the job his kidneys were supposed to do. In his young life, he has already gone through more than 1,000 hours of hemodialysis, as well as seven surgeries.
Desiree says it's been hard having their dream of a normal family dashed and adjusting to a new life spent almost completely in hospitals. But knowing how fragile their son's health is what causes them the most stress.
"The worst part is just the uncertainty with Taylum's health and his challenges," says Desiree.
"…We've almost lost him a few times now and his future is uncertain," she adds.
The family hopes to one day leave hospital, but they need Taylum to grow stronger and to get his weight up so that he can join a kidney transplant wait list. Taylum's dad, Darren, was told he can't donate one his kidneys to his son, so the family will have to wait until a good match is found.
Even with a transplant, Taylum will continue to have serious health challenges, says his mother.
"A kidney transplant is a form of treatment, so it's not a cure," she said. "But it'll give him the best quality of life and get him off dialysis."
The holidays are a tough time for the family, but Desiree says their son's happy spirit is their inspiration, and they are optimistic for the future.
"There's always something to be thankful for," she says. "We could be sad over Christmas, but we're grateful that he's still here and we are lucky enough to have him."