When ten-year-old Colton Hasebe started wheezing and couldn’t get relief from his asthma inhaler, his dad Kevin brought him to emergency at BC Children’s Hospital. As soon as they got to the counter, Colton collapsed.
“A whole bunch of people showed up and started CPR on him right away,” Kevin said. “I was in shock.”
Colton’s asthma attack caused a heart attack. He stopped breathing and lost his heartbeat for 15 minutes, while doctors and nurses fought to resuscitate him. After several rounds of compressions and medication, his pulse came back. By that time, however, brain damage had already set in.
“The brain is quite dependent on oxygen, sugar and glucose and if it’s deprived of either for more than three to five minutes, you can see effects similar to a stroke,” said Dr. Garth Meckler, Head of Emergency Medicine.
Colton lost his vision, and he was unable to eat or walk. Ten days after his heart attack, the family moved to BC Children’s rehabilitation specialists at Sunny Hill for treatment. His team included occupational therapists and physiotherapists to help him walk again, as well as a speech and language therapist.
“The progress he was having there was amazing. He went from not being able to eat or see to, all of a sudden, sitting up in bed and standing,” said Colton's mom, Rachel.
After just a month at Sunny Hill, Colton regained his autonomy and was able to return home to his family. He’s now back at school and living a full life with his family.
“He was very motivated,” Kevin said. “I’ve never been so impressed by somebody in my entire life.”
In January 2018, Colton was announced as the Children's Miracle Network Champion Child ambassador for BC Children’s Hospital as part of the Champions Across Canada program presented by Walmart. As BC’s representative in the Champions program, Colton will share his inspiring story of treatment and rehabilitation when he travels with his family in March 2018 to Ottawa to meet with 11 other Canadian Champions, and then to Orlando, Florida to join the 50 American Champions. Champions help raise awareness of the importance of children’s hospitals and the work done by caregivers and researchers across North America.