In many ways, Griffin Martel is like a lot of other 12 year-olds. He likes to be included in activities with his family and peers at school. He is animated by conversations, and moved by upbeat music.
However, Griffin and his family have also experienced hardships not typical of many kids. At the age of one, Griffin was transferred from BC Children’s Hospital to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice for end-of-life care. He had been experiencing an increase in seizures and episodes of apnea. The specialized clinical care team of nurses and physicians at Canuck Place helped manage these episodes and Griffin was able to regain some strength and become more aware of the world around him.
Today, ten years later, Griffin and his family now make Canuck Place their home away from home with regular medical respite stays. Griffin’s siblings, Nicole, 13, and Spencer, 7, love attending school at Canuck Place.
Griffin’s parents, Alysone and Warren, have been supported and empowered by the program to help in Griffin’s care.
“We feel so blessed to benefit from the support offered by Canuck Place,” said Alysone, “We have learned to balance the bad with the good and be grateful for all the blessings we have.”
Last summer, Griffin participated in the Canuck Place Adventure Race – a multi-sport fundraising event for Canuck Place. Griffin, who requires a wheelchair for mobility, was able to join the other kids through an adaptive route specially designed for Canuck Place kids, which included access to an adapted bike.
“Warren and I love to go biking with the kids but Griffin has outgrown the adapted bike trailer we had so we can’t take him riding anymore,” said Alysone. “Having a bike that he can ride on was amazing – he loved the movement and being included.”
When asked about Griffins participation in the event, she recalled, “I was thrilled about Griffin’s participation in the event. Not only to support Canuck Place, but to demonstrate that kids like Griffin have a place in the world and can participate just like anyone else. Looking back at the photos, I don’t know who had the biggest smiles – me or Griffin or his siblings.”