COMMUNITY: A Tale of Love and Devotion: Mom holds fundraiser in Memory of Son

 

Winnipeger mother  ALDA RUIZ   shares her  beautiful  story of  courage and  faith as she stood beside her late  son MICHAEL  who was born with Meconium Aspiration Syndrome,  a medical condition that occurs when a newborn inhales fecal in his/her lungs before  labor and delivery.

 

Friday the 13th of July  when Alda gave birth to Michael 26 years ago.  It was a dream come true  for her and her  husband Tante  to have a boy after  their first born  daughter Amanda.   Alda had a normal pregnancy  and  never had any health concern.  Shortly  after  baby   Michael was born,  he  had trouble breathing and had to be brought  to the  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Tests showed  his lungs were  severely damaged. He  needed  to be put under a   specialized breathing machine called the High Frequency Jet Ventilator  to breathe and maximize oxygenation.

 

Alda recalls   she was  in the chapel of  St. Boniface Hospital where then  newly-born  Michael was confined,  “Around 3:30 AM, I was crying and fervently praying to God to heal  my baby and begging Him not to take him away.  Suddenly, an elderly lady with a very calm and beautiful face approached me and reassured me that my son was going to be okay.

 

The old lady  was right.  After several weeks, Michael stabilized and was transferred out of  NICU.   Alda and  Tante were  hopeful  Michael  would   grow as a normal child  despite  what he suffered at birth.   But unfortunately, his case was  one of the most severe forms. From then on,  he  had  countless and   numerous admissions at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where he spent his  first two years.

 

*********

 

For  all  his life, Michael had to depend on long term ventilator  to breathe.  He  got  mental and physical disabilities and spent  the  latter part of  his life  on a  customized  wheelchair.

 

A nurse by profession and  was president  of  Philippine Nurses Association of Manitoba for a period of time,   Alda  set aside a full time career and  devoted  most of  her  time taking care and   looking after  beloved son.

 

Despite Michael’s medical challenges,   mental and physical impairment,  Michael  grew up  as  a  very happy and  loving person.  He attended classes and finished secondary school  at Maples Collegiate.  He was like any normal child who loves car rides and adventures.     “He was always full of smiles and gave lots of hugs. “,   Alda shared.

 

Alda’s husband would always take Michael  on road trips outside of the city  and he loved it.  The family built lots  of lovely memories with  Michael  as they went  on family vacations to Disney World, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary,Toronto, Kenora, Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Sioux Falls, and Greenbay,  Wisconsin.

 

Traveling with  Michael  was never an easy feat.   “We never traveled light. Aside from having his power wheelchair, we have  to make sure that we had  a spare ventilator, two suction machines, two feeding pumps, enough Oxygen tanks and other supplies like suction catheters, dressings, feeding tubes and bags.”  In  all these trips,  Alda happily  recalls she  would never forget  bringing  his   favorite Thomas the Tank Engine toys,  books and DVDs.

 

Despite the challenges of these trips, it was always worth it when you see his smile.  How I   loved  the  very tight hugs that he always gave us“,   she shared.

 

*****

 

Alda   knew Michael’s  life was going to be short lived.  Each admission in  the hospital  brought  scare and worry.  The doctors  were amazed  how  Michael  bravely fought  life despite his severe condition.

 

Michael passed  away on  January 25, 2014.   Up to his last breathe,  his positive spirit and bravery  were   incomparable.  “Nothing could  prepare  parents  like us on the most difficult  moment  of losing a  child.  When he left us, we were very devastated.”

 

Through the  26 years of  his son’s   challenging and beautiful   life,  Alda  and Tante  have remained positive and faithful.  “There were times I got  stressed and scared  and   feared losing  my son many times.   Yes, I have to admit that I questioned Him one time, for I am only human after all.   But despite all the trials and tribulations we  faced,  our Faith in God never wavered.”   

 

****

 

To keep the memory of   Michael  alive,   the Ruiz   family  made it a mission to  support  organizations that help  kids with disabilities  like those  that  saw  their son throughout  his  lifetime.   On the first year  Michael celebrated his birthday in heaven,  Alda   organized  a  fundraising  event to raise money  for  the PICU of the Children’s Hospital.  In that year of   2014, the   family was able to  raise  $9,244  which the  hospital  used  to  purchase   Optiflow Nasal High Flow Oxygen Machine for PICU and some TVs, DVD players, portable DVD players and toys for the long term ventilated children.

 

Two years after,   this 2016,  to honor Michael’s memory on his  birthday,   Alda sets up  “A Night Out in Memory of Michael Alden Ruiz ” in support of   the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation.  The foundation provides  modified   equipment to physically challenged  children like her son who depended  on his  customized  wheelchair throughout the latter part of  his life.  It also sends special children to camps.

 

This year’s fundraiser— Bud Spud and Chicken will be held at   the Essence, Garden City Canad Inns on Friday, July 15, 2016 from 6 – 9 PM.   Tickets are $15.00 and receipts for tax  credit may be issued.

 

Alda wants to thank everyone who joined her family in her  journey  and  those who have been suppporting her in her fundraising effforts.    For donations and tickets, please contact Alda Ruiz  at (204) 694-6691 or  aldaruiz.pnam@shaw.ca.

 

“Somehow this  fundrasing helps  us  ease the pain,  heal and move forward.”

 

Posted in Annoucer Blogs, Donna Natividad-Arenas

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