COVID-19 may be separating us physically, but thanks to the Ardene Foundation, healthcare workers and their pediatric patients across the country have felt closer than ever. 180 immunocompromised kids of Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada stuck at home received 2 pairs of customizable shoes donated by Ardene, along with provided fabric markers. After designing them wherever their imagination took them, they kept one pair for themselves, while the matching pair was gifted to a healthcare worker of their own as a token of appreciation during these difficult times.
We asked a Starlight family to describe their chosen frontline worker in one word. Today, meet Arthur and his “fabulous” healthcare hero, Shabnam!
3-year-old Arthur was born with tetralogy of fallot, a heart condition that caused him a cardiac arrest in May of 2017. As a result, he now suffers from brain damage along with cortical vision impairment (CVI).
The hardest part for Arthur and his family during COVID-19 was that he could no longer go to physiotherapy. As a boy who cannot sit or walk by himself, going to his appointments three times a week was crucial to help him make important progress each time. During the pandemic, he was home all day without his daily exercises and stretches, only able to take short walks around the neighbourhood.
While this was a difficult reality for this family to adjust to, COVID-19 luckily didn’t affect Arthur’s ability to see some of his friends. His mom, Jennifer, shared, “Arthur’s friends are his nurses, so he is able to see his friends every day.”
Which is why when Arthur’s family found out that they had an opportunity to show their appreciation for a healthcare worker, thanks to the Ardene Foundation, they had just the “best buddy” in mind.
Shabnam is a registered nurse that has been helping with Arthur’s care since just the beginning of this year, and has already made a lifetime of impact. Coming into their lives just prior to the pandemic, it was the perfect moment as the two then become quarantine buddies.
“It’s very hard for our son to feel comfortable with a nurse, it takes him a long time to trust someone, but with Shabnam, it was totally different. She was born to work with children,” Jennifer said. “She was amazing, even through the pandemic, she never missed a day of work. She works with all her heart. It’s not about going to work just to make money, it’s about caring and passion.”
Arthur and his family put this same care and passion into designing her shoes, donated by the Ardene Foundation. “[We put] some hearts and a heartbeat because of Arthur’s heart condition, and some of Shabnam’s favourite colours,” Jennifer shared. They also added nurse supplies, to represent how “fabulous” of a nurse she is!
Arthur and Shabnam with their shoes donated by the Ardene Foundation
Ardene is not only Jennifer’s favourite store, but when speaking on the experience, she shared, “I would like to thank [the Ardene Foundation] for this opportunity to actually connect with someone that means so much for my son.” Unfortunately, Shabnam is moving to another city and won’t be able to provide the same care for Arthur. However, thanks to the Ardene Foundation, whenever Shabnam and Arthur put their matching shoes proudly on their feet, they will always remember how much they meant to one another. “[Shabnam] says that she will keep them forever.”