Chloe & Cameron's Story

Images Captured By Angie Chauvin Photography

Tiny Lights Chloe and Cameron have faced challenges right from birth. The siblings,
along with brother Carter, are triplets, born early at 31 weeks. They spent 42 days
in the NICU before coming home healthy. But after their second birthday, parents
Valerie and Dave were concerned about their development. Within a few months
at daycare, Carter’s speech developed quickly, but that wasn’t the case for Chloe
and Cameron. Turns out both of them are severely autistic and Cameron also has
juvenile arthritis.

The diagnoses have changed the family’s lives forever. There are numerous medical
appointments that require traveling, plus the mounting costs of special programs
such as therapeutic riding and swimming. Valerie has had to take on two extra jobs
just to help pay the bills.

Through it all, Chloe and Cameron have taught their parents so much. They are non-
verbal, but manage to get what they want when they want. These Tiny Lights love
snuggling, playing on the computer and helping in the kitchen. They are willing to
learn something new everyday. “We keep the kids very involved and will continue to
do so. We want them to experience life to their fullest potential!”

Written by Elaine Yong

Troy's Story

Memories Captured by Kim Culbert Photography

According to his mom Jodie, Tiny Light Troy was an “extremely easy” baby and Jodie considered herself very lucky.  Shortly after he turned one, though, Jodie and her husband Brian began to get concerned.  He wasn’t talking, and he seemed different from other children, although his parents didn’t really know why.

Around the age of two, Troy started having grand mal seizures and that led to assessment and therapy.  It took a long time to get the seizures under control, and then when he was four years old, Troy was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  “

We felt scared and unsure how to help him,” Jodie says, “but relieved that we finally had some answers and a direction to go in and services to access.”

Jodie describes autism as an invisible disability, one that can make life painful in a very unique and different way.   But she also considers Troy’s autism “an opportunity for us all to slow down and look at life differently.”  Troy is funny and loving, treats everyone he meets equally and takes great pleasure in other people’s smiles.  He loves playing on the computer, playing tag, swimming, and making forts.     “Our hopes,” says Jodie, “are that Troy is eventually able to capitalize on his differences and that others accept him for who he is.”

Written by:
Jayne Akizuki

Josh's Story

Images Captured By Lisa Marie Photography
www.lisamariephotography.ca

Meet 12-year-old Josh. This Tiny Light loves to play video games and is fantastic with computers. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a great imagination, and he excels at drawing and reading. Josh is smart, affectionate, and brings joy and laughter to those around him.

After almost a year of recovery and removing many drugs from his system, Josh has improved, but still has a ways to go. The intrusive OCD thoughts still creep in periodically, which is difficult for Josh to deal with; however, he is now back at school and able to go out in public again. Josh’s mother, Jodi, is fighting hard to increase awareness of PANDAS and hopes that Canadian doctors will soon be able to help Canadian families, as receiving treatment from the American doctors is very costly. It has been a long road for the whole family, but they will continue to do whatever they need to do to help Josh reach his full potential.

At age three, Josh was diagnosed with autism. He started an early, intensive behavioural program and made great progress. He was attending regular classes, getting straight A’s, and enjoying life. However, in November 2009, Josh’s behaviour suddenly changed overnight. He suddenly displayed symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, worries, and rages. After years of progress, he regressed to the level of a three year old. After a long, tough fight to get some answers, a doctor they hired from the US finally diagnosed him with PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections). This is a disease in which a strep infection reaches the brain, causing neurological symptoms.  Canadians doctors do not have a working knowledge of this condition, so Josh’s parents had to look for help south of the border. Josh received an IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) treatment, in hopes of maintaining adequate antibody levels. His family is also seeking help from a homeopathic doctor from Australia to pursue additional treatments.

Story  Written by Emily Harrison