Gabriel was born at 27 weeks gestation and weighing 335 grams. He is one of the smallest premature babies to survive in BC. Gabriel had severe Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) resulting in several postnatal issues. He requires a continuous supply of oxygen for pulmonary hypertension and a G-tube for eating.
Despite all of these challenges, Gabriel has flourished. Gabriel started receiving support from BCCFA in July 2017, 4 months after he was born. He has received physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and services from the Supported Child Development program.
Gabriel began walking independently at just over 4 years of age and has also started speaking in longer sentences. He recently achieved his goal of imitating single words and using single words functionally to request and comment on what is happening around him. He can also spell familiar words verbally.
Gabriel’s family has shown unwavering courage and commitment despite the challenges he has faced. They have been realistic about the areas that Gabriel would require support in; however, they have always been positive and confident that he would achieve his childhood milestones.
His family has been very determined to have Gabriel attend a child care program. In his last year before Kindergarten, Gabriel was offered a space at a preschool with full support. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his health concerns. Despite this setback, Gabriel’s family is optimistic that he will do well in Kindergarten. They are very excited for him to start school and celebrate all that he has accomplished.
Not only is Gabriel’s family very supportive of him and his development, but they also offer their support, encouragement and personal insight to other parents and clinicians at BC Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Gabriel’s family works very hard to ensure that he has the best care and support. It is, without a doubt, because of the love and support from his family that Gabriel exudes every characteristic of a Hero of Ability.
Image: Gabriel (front, centre) receiving his award with his mother (Grace); presented by Gabriel’s BCCFA team (from left to right): Celine Sit (OT), Catherine Yoell (PT), and Serita Spenard (SCDP). Missing: Sophie Palmer (SLP).