The Ardene Foundation with Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada teamed up to thank frontline workers, alongside some of the immunocompromised kids most affected by COVID-19. Donated by Ardene, 180 seriously ill children across the county received 2 pairs of customizable shoes. Kids and teens then designed both shoes with provided markers, and gifted the matching pair to a healthcare worker in their life to thank them for all that they do!
We asked Starlight families what word best describes their chosen healthcare hero. One family chose to give both their pairs to two nurses in their lives; so today, we bring you Tyson and the “dedicated” Kyleigh and the “thoughtful” Ms. Libby!
7-year-old Tyson is missing a part of his arm and has no functional thumbs. As a result of being born with a heart condition called tetralogy of fallot, he suffered from a stroke as a baby, and is now non-verbal with severe cognitive and physical delays.
Starlight Canada was reconnected with this family a few years ago after Tyson’s adoption. His dad, Johnny, was once a Starlight child himself, and now, “gets to be reminded of all the great experiences he had as a kid, and Tyson gets to have the time of his life,” Tyson’s mom, Jessica, shared.
During COVID-19, the most difficult change for Tyson was no longer being able to see others. “Tyson loves to socialize, so I think he is really missing school and being the centre of attention,” Jessica said. Although Tyson may be missing all his friends at school, two healthcare heroes in his life make sure that he always gets the attention he deserves! Thanks to the Ardene Foundation, his family was able to show them just how appreciative they are with a heartfelt gift.
Kyleigh is both a dear family friend and a nurse who is passionate about what she does and sets a great example for the kids! “She means so much to us because she loves what she does, and it shows through the care she puts in every day at work,” Tyson’s mom, Jessica, shared.
Kyleigh wearing her Ardene shoes with brothers, Maxwell, Malachi and Tyson!
Ms. Libby is not only their neighbour, but works at their local hospital. Although she is “retired” she is currently working almost full-time hours to help out around the hospital. Even after a long and tiring day of work caring for her patients, she still always remembers to buy Tyson and his siblings treats (usually popsicles!) when she goes to the grocery store, and always takes the time to chat with them.
“They bombard her every evening when she gets home from work,” Jessica shared. “We have 4 kids, so she’s really quite outnumbered, but she handles it gracefully!”
Since COVID-19 began, Ms. Libby is not only helping and protecting people in-hospital, but her thoughtful spirit shines outside the hospital walls as well. “[She is always] ensuring we’re okay and offering to get us groceries since she knows we have 2 children at an increased risk due to health complications,” mom shared.
Although both Kyleigh and Ms. Libby do not treat Tyson directly, this family wanted them to know just how much they are appreciated for all that they do, for both their family and others like them. When asking the kids the inspiration behind their shoe design, Tyson’s 7-year-old sister Jane told her mom, “Because I like to colour things and make them nice if I’m giving them to someone,” and his 6-year-old brother Malachi said, “Because they’re Miss Libby’s and I feel like she likes flowers so I drawed a flower, that’s why.”
Tyson’s sister, Jane, modelling the shoes designed for Ms. Libby!
Jessica was so grateful to the Ardene Foundation for this opportunity. “Our children had so much fun, and it was wonderful as a mom to watch them enjoy giving these gifts away,” she shared.
Thank you to the Ardene Foundation for inspiring acts of kindness, and creating hundreds of stories like this, all across the country!
Learn about the other ways they have been giving back to their community with shoes here.