Thank you to all of our family, friends, colleagues, students, and neighbours who reached out and showed us what love and support truly look like.

(June 2012) – June has huge significance for my family. Saturday June 23rd was a HUGE day for us. Here’s a little bit of an explanation as to why:

We all know 2010 was a difficult year for my family, but June was the hardest. On June 1, 2010, my golden retriever Cooper, who had been with me since summer 2000, collapsed multiple times and had to be rushed to OVC in Guelph. He was already undergoing chemotherapy for cancer we found back in January. Cooper developed dilated cardiomyopathy because of the chemo. I now had to face that his time with us was coming to an end. On June 16, I had to let him go, despite the fact that I was so scared to move forward without him. I thought that surely since I’m losing my dog, everything would be OK for my daughter. But deep down I knew it wasn’t. June 21st, Kate’s first birthday, wasn’t celebrated in a typical way: we instead went to Blue Balloon to meet our new physiotherapist. Two days later, June 23rd, we drove to McMaster to meet our paediatric neurologist in hopes that he would tell us Kate would just catch up. The appointment was pure torture…I could tell the doctor was thinking Angelman Syndrome by the questions he was asking. We had to sit there and listen to the doctor tell us that Kate will suffer severe physical and mental handicaps, severe sleep and seizure disorders, and probably live to age 40. We understood that when you have a child, there are no guarantees of anything, but this was devastating news. It was the loss of a dream of a certain lifestyle for Kate and Jamie. I would have traded anything, my life included, to make that test come back negative. Obviously, it was not to be. 

Last June was extremely difficult. I had a terrible time facing the 1st anniversary of Kate’s AS test date. This year, I could feel it was time to but a bad memory to rest. On Saturday, you helped me replace a very bad memory with one of the best. Not only did you build an amazing playground, you helped me cope. I have survived this diagnosis because of people like you. I am forever grateful. You have changed my life. 

Thank you – from now on, June 23 is the anniversary of the Kate’s Kause playground!