Carson is the epitome of a budding athlete.
When he’s not cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays, you’ll often find Carson playing baseball, soccer, or sledge hockey. And, when he’s not wearing all his gear, you can also find him enjoying the great outdoors camping with his family.
“I love camping,” says Carson, as he recounts how his grandmother will sometimes create a scavenger hunt to see if they’ll spot certain trees or other wild animals.
It’s no wonder this nine-year-old is always on the go—even while he was an inpatient at Holland Bloorview.
Carson has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy (CP), which affects his leg mobility and means he occasionally uses mobility devices. He came to Holland Bloorview for three months after a selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery meant to help make movements easier and less painful for kids with CP.
While his time at the hospital provided him with the physiotherapy and occupational therapy appointments he needed to strengthen his legs, it also brought him so many chances to be a kid as he fostered friendship and fun.
Unsurprisingly, if you asked him what his time at Holland Bloorview involved, Carson easily replies with, “Going in the playroom, or outside to play on the playground, or lots of bike rides.”
For this active tween, it was a rare occasion not to see him and two of his inpatient friends zooming down the hallways on the hospital’s adaptive bikes, playing hide-and-seek or racing around.
“Those three were the ‘biking buddies,’” says Carson’s mother, Carrie with a laugh. “They were always so loud that the nurses always knew when the three of them were coming.”
It’s that kind of memory that is still near and dear to the family’s hearts—in fact, all three boys are still friends to this day, with Carson and his roommate, Alex, playing sledge hockey on the same team.
“We didn’t really talk about Carson’s diagnosis a lot because, to us, the way Carson has been raised is the same as every other kid. But it was also nice [while he was an inpatient] to see that it’s okay to talk about it and get support,” says Carrie.
“It’s made us more open and that it’s okay to accept and ask for help—and we really learned a lot of that here.”