Every February, the supermarket aisles, window displays, and home decor are themed with hearts as many people have Valentine’s Day on their minds. For families like the Buckton’s, February is known as heart month and not because of the gift-giving holiday, but because February 7-14th is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. The only thing they have on their minds is the healing heart of Kyleigh.
Kyleigh will be turning five this May and she has come a long way in her time. Being diagnosed before she was born with a Congenital Heart Defect, Brent and Kristy knew that at some point in her life she would need to undergo open-heart surgery. That day came sooner than expected when in October of 2016, at only five months of age, Kyleigh took a turn for the worse and was rushed by ambulance to London from their local E.R. in Southampton. After a whirlwind of 30 hours with no sleep, the Buckton’s found themselves completely exhausted, scared for their little girl, and with nothing but a diaper bag in a city 195 km from home.
When we arrived in London, we went straight to the E.R. at Children’s Hospital. Sitting there waiting you end up thinking a lot. We then realized that we had nothing with us, except for a diaper bag, and nowhere to stay. We were just going minute by minute.
This is when Brent and Kristy found comfort at RMH London and became part of the RMH family...
“Staying at RMH was extremely beneficial to us. Knowing we were able to walk out the front door and be steps away from the hospital was one less thing to worry about. - they do the worrying for you. They give you a place to stay, a place to recharge and a place to call home. RMH takes care of you when your only focus is your sick child.”
Kyleigh recently started Junior Kindergarten, loves to paint and do crafts, and her healing heart now allows her to dance, skate and sing! Since recovering from her life-saving surgery, she returned to RMH London to help launch the first-ever Illuminate the House event with her family in 2018. She continues her support today back home in Port Elgin by hosting “Kyleigh’s Cocoa Stand” to raise funds and awareness for families staying close. While long-term goals are to become a vet and a doctor to help both animals and people, in the near future, spunky Kyleigh hopes to become one of the Mini Pop Kids who sing and dance on stage. Kyleigh’s mom knows that whatever she does, "she will do it with courage, determination and of course a dash of sass.”
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