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The Labonte Family
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The Labonte Family

“We knew the camp would offer Campbell the chance to work on this mobility and core strength. We feel relief, joy and humility as we take this remarkable journey with our son.”

Your whole world can change in an instant. Ours certainly did August 10th 2008. My son, Campbell Labonte was born on this day. For most people, this is a day filled with joy and celebration but for us it was only filled with agony and worry. Campbell arrived 4 months early and we were on leave and away from home at the time.
Campbell was born premature and was delivered at only 24 weeks. He weighed just 1.5 pounds at birth. Campbell was immediately connected to machines in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Kingston General Hospital where we stayed for one month before Campbell was stable enough to be transported to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). CHEO became home for the next five months. In that time Campbell endured 13 surgeries, ate only life saving chemicals for his first 3 months of life. He fought constantly to stay alive and there were many occasions when we were not certain if our boy would live.
Those six months were a nightmare, but sadly, we have not awoken from this dream. After the fourth month in hospital, and 5 surgeries to try to save his eyes, we were told that Campbell would be blind. Then one month later we were told Campbell is also deaf. Our world crumbled and the rug just kept getting pulled from underneath us. With each blow we tried to find the positives and vowed to do everything we could to make Campbell's life a happy and fulfilled one.
Campbell has now been home with his family for three years but the journey is only beginning. One year ago it was confirmed that our son has cerebral palsy and the medical staff feel that he may never walk. Campbell has a number of appointments now at CHEO and the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre. We see countless specialists and negotiate the halls of CHEO on a weekly basis. It certainly is a new normal for our family. My husband and I are both in the military and we will be forever grateful to the CF for the support and encouragement they have offered us on this journey.
Last winter we took advantage of an intensive therapy camp for Campbell, which was rather costly. We knew the camp would offer Campbell the chance to work on his mobility and core strength. This was a major investment and would cost about $6,000. A fellow military member suggested that we reach out to Support Our Troops to see if they could assist us with the high cost of the camp. I told them about Campbell and the camp and before long they had offered us $5,000 for payment towards the therapy camp. My husband and I went through a wave of emotions which included relief, joy and humility. We did not think that our needs were as important as other members and were so surprised and pleased to learn that the military community continues to care for us as we take this remarkable journey with our son, Campbell.

Written by Captain Joanna Labonte and MCpl Bertran Labonte
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Natacha Dupuis, MCpl (Retired)

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