Tristan’s Story

Our son Tristan was born with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that (amongst other things) makes it impossible for him to turn himself in his bed at night. Because of this, Tristan would call out to us for help whenever needed, usually six or eight times a night for a “flip” – a routine that while completely necessary, was also a taxing burden on everyone (including T) who experienced less than an hour of sleep between turns.

After Tristan had spinal surgery in Jan 2011, the frequency of these turns become even greater, with him calling us every 40 minutes for help. You can only imagine what a frustrating situation this would be: you want your child to be comfortable and rested, but with the lack of sleep everyone in the home was receiving, we were all operating at diminished energy levels bordering on exhaustion. Everyone’s nerves were frayed, and our enthusiasm for life was waning…

The good news was that through research, my wife Paula discovered a high tech bed that turns patients either automatically or with the simple touch of a hand held button – this sounded like an answer to our prayers! Unfortunately the bad news was that with a price tag nearing $32,000 owning this bed seemed an impossible feat. Seeing no other avenue for our dilemma, we decided to trial the bed in our home if for no other reason than to get at least one last months sleep in our lives. Once the trial was up, (and after 30 days of sleeping) we decided to purchase the bed, having faith that the money for it would show up “somehow” and put the full amount onto a credit card. It seemed that now I had a different reason to stay up at night!

Not long after the purchase of the bed I was asked if I knew about “Help Fill a Dream”; I had, but didn’t think that helping our family get a good night’s sleep would qualify… we thought this was just an organizations that “sent kids to Disneyland”. Regardless, we arranged a meeting with the Executive Director, Steve Duck, who confirmed that not only did we qualify, but he’d already put our case before the board and we’d been granted a significant portion towards the bed!

It was because of the initial funding from Help Fill a Dream we had the help and confidence to broach more funders to help us with our cause, and Steve was instrumental in helping us with this. We soon had a significant portion of the bed funded; as a result, we are all getting great sleeps each night, which in turn makes for much sunnier days for the whole family.

I can’t stress how much it means to my family that Help Fill a Dream not only contributed financially to our bed, but also for the support they showed us by listening to our story empathetically when many others wouldn’t. I would say that this is an organization that truly “walks its talk” and highly recommend it to anyone that wants to contribute to a cause that really makes a difference in the lives of kids on Vancouver Island. If this sounds like you, then look no further than Help Fill a Dream.

David, Paula and Tristan
August 2011