Raffle tickets for the Efforts for Emma campaign can be purchased at all Scotiabank locations in Prince Edward Island or at the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. The cost is $20 for one ticket, $50 for 3 and $100 for eight. Donations can also be made online at www.effortsforemma.com.
© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Joe Driscoll holds his three-year-old granddaughter Emma Driscoll-Roche who at eight months suffered cardiac arrest due to respiratory failure resulting in severe brain damage. A fundraising campaign is underway to help offset the costs to family for the young girl's health care.
Joe Driscoll’s only grandchild to date has been both a source of great joy and a cause for considerable concern.
Emma Driscoll-Roche, now 3, entered the world in apparent tip-top shape.
Driscoll was able to watch his granddaughter grow day by day as she reached early development milestones.
At seven months, she was crawling. She was also saying “Momma’’ and “Dadda’’.
Driscoll and his wife Kathy, he notes, were pretty well over the moon each day their granddaughter graced their Charlottetown home.
“I think that’s a bond that only grandparents can understand,’’ he says. “It’s just such a feeling of completeness.’’
The thrill of seeing Emma develop was delivered a harsh turn when, at eight months, the baby suffered cardiac arrest due to respiratory failure resulting in severe brain damage.
Family was told Emma would be blind, deaf and remain curled in a fetal position with very rigged muscles. That harsh forecast was not going to be taken lying down. The determination was — and is — to do everything possible to improve Emma’s condition.
A pediatric therapist has been hired to work with Emma twice a week for one-hour sessions of stretching, movement, and weight bearing exercises.
Emma has been receiving hippotherapy that involves using a pony to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input. Then there has been hyperbaric therapy that sees Emma taken into a pressure chamber with her parents so she is able to breath pure oxygen.
Individually and collectively, Driscoll is pleased and encouraged with the results he sees in his young granddaughter.
“Emma is continually making progress,’’ he says. “I expect great things out of her.’’
Still, the cardiac arrest more than two years ago has left Emma with no mobility. She relies on a surgically implanted feeding tube for nourishment. She requires many medications.
Payment of her variety of treatment is all out of pocket for both the parents and the grandparents of this three-year-old girl.
Emma receives treatment frequently.
“We are committed to provide all the recommended treatments even though resources are growing scarce,’’ says Driscoll.
Driscoll would like the current treatments to be more frequent. He would also like more options explored.
A fundraising campaign, called Efforts for Emma, will allow Islanders to come to the little child’s aid in receiving time-sensitive treatment.
Fundraising co-chairwoman Martie Murphy says volunteers from across the province will be selling raffle tickets over the next few months. Murphy says that campaign volunteers are committed to easing the financial burden that Emma’s family faces in providing for the girl’s essential medical care.
“We are calling on all Islanders to support our efforts in advocating for Islanders living with brain injuries,’’ she adds.