Young patient shares story to launch RIH Foundation Holiday Campaign

By Jill Sperling
December 4, 2017 - 4:02pm Updated: December 4, 2017 - 6:25pm

KAMLOOPS —Nine-year-old Sean Mitchell is living his dream. 

The young Kamloops resident made his professional dancing debut as a mouse in the Nutcracker this past month, and on Monday he helped the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation launch their holiday fundraising campaign. 

He said he likely wouldn't be dancing had he not received care at Royal Inland Hospital. 

"I would probably be just really sick, and maybe even dead if it wasn't for Royal Inland. You guys helped me, and I'm just so grateful."

At the age of four Sean was diagnosed with steroid-dependent frequent relapsing nephrotic syndrome, a serious, potentially life-threatening disease that affects the kidneys. 

"We've had a couple of times where he wasn't able to breathe, he got really, really sick and back to Emergency we came, spent some time on the pediatrics ward and I can't say enough about the kind of care he received," said Sean's mother Erin Mitchell. "They respond so quickly, and as a mom sometimes you feel completely overwhelmed, and you don't know which way to turn. Even as a nurse I found that it was an overwhelming amount of information, and they were there for us every step of the way." 

During the launch event for the RIH Foundation's Holiday Fundraising Campaign Sean thanked his care team, who continue to treat him and support his family. 

"Thanks to the pediatricians coming here to Royal Inland Hospital, and their teleconferencing abilities, and just being able to see our pediatric nephrologist here at Royal Inland now, it's completely changed our lives," Erin said. "I mean, we used to drive every 12 weeks on the Coquihalla, which is not ideal in February."

The RIH Foundation plans to make more improvements to the pediatric department through their holiday campaign. 

"This year the money is going to the hospital and we're trying to do a big pediatric renovation and ER as well," RIH Foundation CEO Heidi Coleman said. "So, for this holiday campaign we're going to put all the money into the NICU, which is the neonatal intensive care unit, and the pediatric unit, and of course we always need funds for the Emergency, which is where the kids come in first when they come into the hospital."

While the foundation steers away from setting a fundraising goal, they are hoping to exceed the amount reached in previous campaigns, which is around $100,000. 

For young Sean, he's simply happy his story and the holiday campaign will help many other children in need of care. 

"I couldn't wish for anything more," Sean said, "this is perfect, I just love it."

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