Super Strength for Super Kids is BACK!
Super Strength for Super Kids is BACK! This exciting fundraising event is taking place in Brandon, Manitoba in support of The Dream Factory - a Manitoba-based charity that brings dreams to life for kids in our community fighting life-threatening illnesses.
The Dream Factory grants dreams for kids across Manitoba including backyard makeovers, celebrity meet and greets, and when it's safe to do so, travel around the world. Many of the kids they support are from Brandon and the Westman area.
On September 18th, 2022 we are holding a strongman competition at Anytime Fitness Brandon (3000 Victoria Ave) to showcase our community's super strength in an effort to make a dream come true for Ava, a child right here in Brandon who knows the true meaning of strength.
The event will include a number of strongman events, and be open to participants of all skill levels and from ANY fitness facility. We are asking participants to raise a minimum of $250 each as they prepare for the event, and our goal is to raise $10,000 to ensure that this dream can come true.
We're dreaming of a safe and "super" day complete with guest appearances from our favourite superheroes, kid-friendly activities, and a community working together to bring a dream to life.
Participants of all skill level (and from any fitness facility!) are welcome - events can be adapted based on comfort level, accessibility, etc. While we're excited to show off our strength, this event is more about supporting kids in need and having some fun a long the way!
Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2022
Location: Anytime Fitness - 3000 Victoria Ave (note: this is an outdoor event - please dress accordingly!)
Warm Up / Registration: 11:00 AM
Super Strength Events: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Ava is like many other girls her age. She is smart, active, outdoorsy, caring, and full of personality! She loves to play with her friends, is very outgoing, and is easy to get along with. One of her favourite things to do is play sports, especially hockey.
But in 2019, Ava got sick. One morning in August she woke up with a yellow tint to her eyes. I knew this was very unusual, especially for a healthy four-year-old. We were preparing to go on vacation, but I decided to take her in to get checked out, just to be safe.
At the clinic in Brandon we were told it was just jaundice and that it would go away. I knew it was more serious than that and pressured the doctors for more answers. Ava was referred to a pediatrician who did bloodwork. We were told we would have more information the following day.
I followed up the next day and was told there was a backlog and we would have to wait for results. I knew this couldn’t wait and drove Ava into Winnipeg to children’s emergency. After several tests, doctors determined that her liver function was abnormal. Ava was admitted to the hospital, where she stayed for nearly two weeks. When her liver functions were finally under control, she was discharged and able to return home to Brandon for the weekend, but we had to return to the hospital on Monday. What was meant to be a day trip, turned into much more.
On our way back to Brandon, Callie got a call that told her she needed to bring Ava back to the hospital immediately. Ava was in acute liver failure - something I never expected to hear. As I was talking to the doctor on the phone, I looked back at her and she was singing Disney songs. She was just acting normally. How could she be in liver failure?
Back at the hospital, they ran more tests and did more bloodwork. The results weren’t good. Ava needed to be transported to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. At Sick Kids, they did another liver biopsy. We were there for two weeks, and miraculously, her liver recovered. She didn’t require a transplant. It somehow appeared to fix itself. To this day, they never did find a cause for her liver failure.
After returning to Winnipeg we followed up with the liver specialist who still wanted us to stay in Winnipeg. We ended up being referred to a hematologist, then to the bone marrow transplant specialist because Ava’s counts continued to drop. At the beginning of October, she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. From then until January, she required weekly blood transfusions and we had to live on the hospital site.
After the first two months of appointments, her blood counts were still low. We tried medication therapy to see if that would boost her counts, but it didn't work. Doctors recommended that we do the bone marrow transplant and the search for a match began. Our doctor said a half match from a parent could potentially work, too. We consented to that and Ava received her transplant from her dad in January 2020.
After her transplant, Ava had to stay in the hospital for another month. At this time, talk about COVID-19 was becoming more serious. Shortly after Ava was discharged, they started locking everything down. So we were kind of lucky enough that we were able to have our family with us as a support system in the hospital.
At her follow-up appointment, we were told her transplant was a success - we were beyond happy! She continued with follow-ups at had to be re-immunized for many illnesses after chemo and radiation Everything was going well and we thought this was the end of her troubles. But in July 2021 while I was at work, I got a call from my sister saying Ava was acting strangely. I went home to check on Ava and knew right away that something wasn’t right. She wasn’t making sense and was going in and out of consciousness. I rushed her to the emergency in Brandon.
The doctors rushed her into the ER and determined she had meningitis. And it was bad. She had to be airlifted to Winnipeg because she even lost her vision and her hearing. We were in the ICU for two days in Winnipeg. We later got admitted onto the wards and Ava slept for nearly a whole week straight. She was put on antibiotics for three weeks, and miraculously made a full recovery.
Doctors figured out that with her lowered immunity, she was getting sinus infections every month and a half. This was causing Covid-like symptoms so our follow-up appointments were taking place over the phone. So were her medical prescriptions. This made it hard for doctors to really know what was going on, and all the sinus infection buildup went into her spinal fluid and caused her meningitis. And with severe aplastic anemia, her antibody cells don't produce enough cells to fight off infections.
But Ava is so strong and has fought through a lot. She now receives a transfusion of antibodies once a month and she can finally attend school and participate in activities - like hockey! She is also starting baseball, soon. She's doing good, she's enjoying going to school right now. And it's amazing how smart she is. I get nothing but remarkable comments from her teachers and the fact that she's so smart, considering this is her first real year at school.
To celebrate her recovery, we planned to save up and take Ava to Disney. After being referred to The Dream Factory, we realized her Dream really could become a reality! We can’t wait for Ava to visit Disney and are so grateful you will help bring her Dream to life!
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Become a Sponsor
Your company can become a sponsor of Super Strength for Super Kids, an event bringing together strongmen and women from Brandon and area for a friendly competition with one shared goal in mind: to make a very special dreams come true.
Your sponsorship will help reach our goal of bringing Ava's dream to life. Plus, you will be able to be a proud partner in one of Manitoba's most unique fundraising events.
As a sponsor, you will receive the following benefits:
- Logo placement on all event signage and materials
- Recognition on event website
- Recognition on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
- Verbal acknowledgement at the event
To learn more or become a sponsor, please contact Karly Tardiff at The Dream Factory at Karly@thedreamfactory.ca
Learn About The Dream Factory
At The Dream Factory, our mission is to bring dreams to life for Manitoba kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses.
Our ultimate goal is to create as many opportunities as possible for kids to just be kids, despite the incredibly difficult battles they may be fighting.
Our Dream Kids are under the age of 18, have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and are able to communicate their dream in some form. We include all immediate family members in the dream experience, and every dream starts with a referral from a member of our community.
Examples of dreams come true safely here at home over the last 12 months have included a LEGO-themed 7th birthday party for Ben, the “best Christmas ever” for Mia, an incredible backyard transformation for Emma, and even a new family puppy for Luke.
Our dream is for a world where there are no sick kids, but until that is possible, we work to ensure that every sick child in Manitoba has the opportunity to have their dream come true.
Your support of Suepr Strength for Super Kids will directly help to ensure that even more dreams can come true for kids right here in our community fighting some incredibly difficult battles. We can't do it without you!