Before our daughter Hayden’s first birthday, we were told she was born with a rare genetic condition. From that moment on we were pulled into a life of uncertainty. The challenges we saw her go through made us question her future and by extension, our own. Through these uncertainties, we started thinking more about what could be done to help build her future, and overcome this fear of the unknown?
Through a two month hospital stay, we saw Hayden go through needles, tests, exams, seizures, IVs, and a seemingly endless amount of medications. This ended up being one of the most difficult times in our lives. During that hospital stay however, we also started to see something that we had been oblivious to. We saw other kids in similar situations, fighting medical challenges of their own. We saw other parents fighting and advocating for their children. We had come to learn about another world that existed, the world of ‘hospital life’.
Over the following months an idea started forming. We launched our first initiative, Tuff Sprout, a brand where we could help tell stories of kids facing extraordinary challenges while raising a little bit of money to help other organizations. As time went on, we met others on similar journeys and slowly, the vision for Tuff Sprout started to come together. By creating a community focused brand that could advocate for these children and drive awareness to the organizations that aim to improve their lives, we could use our fear of the unknown to drive positive change.
Since then and along the way, however, we have come to learn of the lack of access to support many families face. When we think about families who are dealing with extraordinary medical challenges, our focus is usually on the recovery and well-being of the person hospitalized. However, for hundreds of thousands of families across Alberta and Canada, there are often many additional challenges outside of what goes on inside the hospital. These challenges could be not receiving adequate support from the formal system, people not understanding the struggle, and the emotional and mental exhaustion that comes with a medical challenge.
We see a future where every family caregiver feels valued and supported by the community, and more understood by those around them.
Just like Tuff Sprout, we believe the sprout is significant in what it represents. The sprout symbolizes the hope and potential people embody, when they are provided the necessary care and support.