April 28 2010 09:49PM
I've told the story before about how my life changed forever on Aug. 16, 2006, when I celebrated my 48th birthday and welcomed my son Sam into the world the very same day.
It's a story I'll likely tell again Thursday when Jason Gregor takes his show to the Stollery Childrens Hospital from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on TEAM 1260 as part of Astral Media's annual telethon to raise funds.
It's a story worth telling -- I promise I'll try not to cry like a big baby this time, just like I do every year -- if it means helping the SCH, and other institutions like it, better provide the life-saving and life-changing services it does.
If you listen to the Jason Gregor Show, or any of the other Astral Media shows doing their part on-air today to help raise funds, you'll hear heart-wrenching stories about sick children, their families and the dedicated doctors and care-givers who make a difference. Some of those stories have happy endings. Others do not. Many are ongoing.
The rest is up to you.
Making a difference
Sam turns four this August. He's a happy, healthy, normal little boy in every way, right down to summoning this old sportswriter, my wife Analyn and brother Michael to the bathroom on a daily basis proclaiming yet more proof he's mastered potty training.
While Michael will attend the University of Alberta this September, Sam will start junior-kindergarten, as Analyn and I have decided it's about time to unleash him on unsuspecting teachers. We've registered Sam for baseball. His first game is May 5.
Like the old man, Sam loves cars. Not only can he point out a Mustang or a Corvette to you, he can do it by year and engine option. Sam wants to be a guitar player, just like his big brother. Of course, Sam loves hockey in general and the Oilers in particular -- something to do with the puck Sam Gagner gave him, I suspect.
We have our happy ending. We've got the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where Sam spent the first three months of his life in the neonatal ICU after being born 12 weeks premature and weighing just two pounds, to thank for that. Likewise, the Stollery Children's Hospital, where Sam had surgery to repair an abdominal defect before he finally came home.
If you know Sam's story, you know about the expertise and technology that saved him and everything that happened in between. If you don't, feel free to tune in Thursday.
Do what you can
Like I said, Analyn, Michael and I have our happy ending. Not everybody is as lucky. The brilliant work the SCH does, with all the heartaches and hope that go with it for families with sick children, is ongoing.
Some families don't get to take their children home. Some families don't get to say, "Thanks so much" and walk away for good with nothing but boundless gratitude for the life-saving work the SCU has done, with baseball and junior-kindergarten to think about. If it was only that easy.
If you want to take a break from hockey talk now that the first round of NHL playoffs is over, or if you're weary of the Taylor Hall-Tyler Seguin debate, then tune into Jason's show -- or any of the shows that'll be broadcast from the SCH Thursday -- and listen. If you're so inclined, give what you can.
There are, as I became acutely aware at 7:11 p.m. on August 16, 2006 when Sam's fight for life began, matters other than hockey worthy of our time and passion.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.