The Heart in Hearts for Healthcare

Community support is the Heart in Hearts for Healthcare. It’s because of you we are able to provide our local healthcare centres with much needed pieces of equipment.

We wanted to highlight one of those pieces today, that will help make healthcare practitioner’s jobs easier by helping keep newborn babies warm, oxygenated and safe.    

The Panda Warmer.

Panda Warmers provide a radiant heating source to keep the newly delivered infant warm and safe.

In 2019, this highly important piece of equipment was highlighted as part of our cash appeal auction during our Annual Hearts for Healthcare Gala. The support was OUTSTANDING.

The cash appeal started off with a donation from the Cromwell family for $4000 from a GoFundMe that was set up in support of their baby, Kona, and quickly matched by Cold Lake Veterinary Clinic. We received 25 incredibly generous contributions towards the purchase of the Panda Warmer and because of this it now has a place at the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre !

Here are a couple stories from 2 families that show all the reasons why we do what we do and why we appreciate our community’s support. 

The Cromwell’s and The Corbin’s

The Cromwell’s Story

Kona Cromwell was born Saturday February 16th in Cold Lake Alberta arrived a week overdue and seemed to be a healthy newborn.  

That night she was having breathing issues while still in hospital, but it was thought by doctors to be fluid in her lungs from the birth and was sent home Sunday morning. Later that evening her parents found her at home not breathing and she had turned purple.  Mom, Vanessa drove her to hospital while dad, Ryan, who has first aid training as a firefighter resuscitated her on the way to Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. The incident was not related to the fluid in the lungs, but was a blessing in disguise as her oxygen, blood pressure and sugar had dropped off and this wee princess was thought to be septic and would not have made it through the night. 

Cold  Lake hospital had connected with hospitals in Edmonton which sent a fixed wing plane with a team of nurses. Once they got Kona stabilized, the team flew her and mom Vanessa from CFB Cold lake to CFB Edmonton. She was then taken by ambulance to Grey Nuns Hospital, where she received excellent care. 

Kona was released from hospital at 5 days old and is very happy healthy now. The cause of the incident was never determined. 

We had overwhelming support from the Cold Lake community  and Holy Cross Elementary sending lots of prayers for us. 

(My wife Vanessa works for Holy Cross and  teaches grade 3.)

Cold Lake Healthcare Centre, Emergency Department was amazing. Their skills, speed and communication  was remarkable, not just with each other but with us as well. I loved that they let me help where I could, as it comforting that I could do something, rather than just watching.  I was also very impressed that an off duty nurse and anesthetist showed up to assist the ER staff. 

The fixed wing neonatal air ambulance crew was very impressive and professional. They  made me feel a sense of calm as they looked, moved and had a sense of humour that is alike my brothers and sisters of Cold Lake Fire Rescue. 

In all this may have been one of most daunting experiences of my live but also one of the most humbling. We hope our $4000 donation can make Cold Lake an even better, safer place. We are so lucky to have such amazing people in Cold Lake. I’m very proud to call my self a Cold Laker.


    Ryan Cromwell 

Brayden’s Story

In December 2017, my then 8 year old son Brayden got a cold.  It was a cold like any other he had had before and after a few days he was back to himself.  A few weeks after that cold Brayden woke up one morning a different person.  It was like a switch had been flipped.  He was not the boy we raised, what was in front of us was the shell of the child he had been.  Brayden became oppositional and defiant.  He displayed severe aggression and anger that never seemed to match the situation.  At times he needed to be restrained for his own safety.  He became severely depressed, seeing no joy in the world around him.  He hated himself, what he looked like and everything that he did.  He lost all his passions – no longer drawing hot rods, tearing through books and loving Tae Kwon Do.  Brayden developed severe OCD and tics.  Everything needed to be perfect and lined up just right.  He washed his hands until they were raw and pulled at his hair until he was breaking it.  He began to lie to everyone around him, mistreat his brother and steal from us and from others at school.  He developed severe sensitivity to light and sound, slept significantly more than normal and started to refuse to eat.  He began to struggle in school and his friends began to notice he was no longer the same.

         We took Brayden to his family doctor who ordered a bunch of tests that came back normal.  He then sent in a referral to a pediatrician and we waited. While waiting we took Brayden to a psychologist who he had seen after his brother’s Autism diagnosis.  She was shocked at the changes in Brayden.  She saw extreme self-hate and a complete inability to focus on anything.  On May 3, 2018 at bedtime Brayden was crying uncontrollably and was terrified he was going to die.  He confided in us that for weeks his brain had been urging him to harm himself.  He was getting 10-15 urges a day and acting on over half of them.  From trying to break his fingers, to slamming his head into concrete walls, sticking his toothbrush so far down his throat he choked, to riding his bike in front of a car.  Every day Brayden’s mind was trying to cause him severe harm that could have ended his life.  On May 4, 2018 I took Brayden into the ER.  We were triaged and taken into a room immediately.  Mental Health came and talked to us both and then in walked Dr. Stander.  After talking to both of us Dr. Stander knew something wasn’t right and that it may not be mental illness.  Dr. Stander called the Stollery and after a few more lab tests we were transferred to Edmonton. After 9.5 hours in two different ER’s Brayden was diagnosed with PANDAS.

         PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus.  That cold Brayden got in Dec 2017 was actually Strep.  Instead of his body attacking the Strep it attacked the basal ganglia in his brain.  This attack caused severe encephalitis which caused all of Brayden’s symptoms. That day in the Cold Lake ER we were treated with the utmost compassion and kindness on what was the scariest day of our lives.  Dr. Stander had promised Brayden that he would figure this out and get him better.  Most PANDAS patients are misdiagnosed for years and the unchecked encephalitis causes such trauma to the brain.  From onset to diagnosis it was only 5 months for Brayden which is why he has done so well today.  PANDAS can be fatal and in Brayden’s case he was heading down the path that would end his life.  Dr. Stander was instrumental in ensuring that Brayden got to continue living his life.  There are no words to encompass how grateful we are for Dr. Stander, all the nurses and the Stollery that day. 

         Today Brayden is back in remission after having his third IVIG treatment in April 2019.  We have our son back and we owe so much gratitude to so many people for making this a reality.  I could easily be telling a different story today if it had not been caught this quickly. 

The Corbin Family

A Special Visit and Thank you

We invited them all to the hospital to see the new Panda Warmer and meet some of the staff at the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre’s Labour and Delivery room.

The Cold Lake Sun featured the Panda Warmer and other important pieces of equipment in this recent article.

Hearts for Healthcare wants to send a huge thank you to the Cromwell’s, Corbin’s and all the other supporters for all you do! Without you this wouldn’t be possible.

We can’t wait to be able to host our Annual Gala again! We miss you!