The day started out like any other. Same routine. My son Dominick had the flu but other than that,business as usual. I kiss my wife and son goodbye and headed to work downtown. I had no idea thiswould be the day that everything changed. That I would learn that we are not invincible. Life is short andsometimes sudden.
In the middle of my work day, my phone rang. Its my wife and shes terrified. "Dom is passed out, we'rein the middle of target, I'm taking him to the ER. Hes not acting right." She rushes him to the hospital. Ijump in a cab. I can remember thinking, is this real? Still to this day its a blur. One big ball of "Its notpossible."
Arriving at the hospital, my son was hooked up to what was later nicknamed "The dragon mask." It’s anebulizer with a purple dinosaur on it. The nurse explained that Dom was going to be here for threedays and get one of these treatments every hour as he had been diagnosed withRSV: https://www.webmd.com/lung/rsv-in-babies#1 Very common but can be deadly to childrenif not treated immediately.
Life stops. My son needs me. 3 days with a child getting albuterol treatments is just brutal, both for thechild and the parents. Albuterol treatments like these cause the child to climb the walls. Added that heneeds one of these treatments every hour on the hour so no sleep.
The staff at NW community hospital are simply incredible people. Real heroes. They donned capesduring our visit and at the time I didn't really think much of it. I was so worried for my child that notmuch else mattered. Day 2 of no sleep for me, I’m struggling. Poor Dom is too. The nurse walked in andasked, "Would you mind if I take him?" For what? "Its superhero week!" She handed him a seek-and-find so he could go find all the superheroes on the doors of the rooms. Happily, he danced through thehallways yelling out "Superman! Flash! Green Lantern!" Of course, he knew them all. He’s MY son. Iwatched and thought to myself how brilliant it was. A distraction from this awful experience. At the endof the hunt, all the children met at the nurse’s station and waited with bated breath. Excitement in theair as they were told they now got to choose a prize. The Toy Room was opened, and it was incredible.These very sick children got to feel like “normal kids” for 5 minutes. High fiving and congratulating eachother on their wins.
I started this charity with intention of simply giving back to the people who go the extra mile for thesekids. Pay it forward if you will. Making children smile. Bring some toys. Simple. What followed would bethe changing of lives forever and I had no idea the level of importance or where this could go.
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