Meet Irene

When she’s not shooting hoops or drawing, Irene loves setting up her electronic shop where she fixes old phones, iPods and TV remotes.

Irene first came to Holland Bloorview as a baby. Now six years old, Irene works with the hospital’s orthotic clinic team and wears ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) for support with her walking. She also attends speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. As a grade one student at Bloorview School Authority, Irene enjoys gym, circle time and playing with her friends.

Irene is joining forces with Holland Bloorview for Capes for Kids for the first time. We chatted with Irene and her mom, Maria, about her favourite memories at Holland Bloorview and why she describes herself as fierce.

What are your favourite things to do?

Irene: I like gym. I love to run around and play with all the equipment. My favorite thing is playing basketball. I’m going to make the team in the NBA.

Maria: She met one of her favourite players, Pascal Siakam, at school last year. They fist bumped and shot a basketball together.

Irene: It was so cool!

What’s your favorite part about Holland Bloorview?

Irene: The people at the AFO clinic are very nice. Usually when I go to the AFO clinic, the doctors put warm papers on me.

Maria: She likes when they cast her legs for her AFOs. They put warm water on and then they put the tape to cast her leg to make the impression of her leg. She loves that. She also loves the pool. The teachers taught her how to swim.

Irene: Now I know how to swim!

How did you feel when you when you learned how to swim?

Irene: I felt amazing.

What has Irene’s journey at Holland Bloorview been like?

Maria: The strength in her hands to do fine motor tasks and her ability to tell you what she did that day—it’s like night and day. The fact that she now shares what happened during the day is all because of speech therapy. The AFOs have also helped with her walking. She used to walk slower and not as sturdy, and now she’s great. She also learned how to ride a bike through physiotherapy. There are so many specific examples, but one thing that really sticks out to me is her independence. The hospital helped her find her independence and make choices. She’s pretty fierce.

Irene: I’m pretty fierce!

If there’s one thing that you want the whole world to know about Holland Bloorview, what is that?

Irene: I want the whole world to know that they have the best teachers, EAs (educational assistants) and doctors in the world.