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Carstairs-area youth helps raise money for hospital fundraiser

Caring for Kids Radiothon raised $2.95 million for the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
MVT Hope Nicholson
Hope Nicholson of the Carstairs area suffers from chronic pain that will liikely last her whole life. The help she's received has inspired her to work in the medical profession some day. Submitted photo

CARSTAIRS -  Hope Nicholson, daughter of Hope 4 MVC Kids Society founder Lisa Nicholson, appeared on a Calgary radio stations’s fundraiser for the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation last week. 

Hope was on the air for about an hour the evening of Feb. 4. During that period, the 18th annual Country 105 Caring for Kids Radiothon raised about $30,000 for the cause. In total, the radiothon raised $2.95 million for the hospital. 

Hope is one of four Nicholson kids (three girls and a boy) born to Richard and Lisa Nicholson of the Carstairs area. She was born prematurely at about 30 weeks. One child is adopted.  

Hope, who is now 15, has suffered all her life with chronic pain and her mom says the outlook is she will have that pain for the remainder of her life. 

Hope suffered two cardiac arrests as a baby and spent prolonged time on life support. She has been diagnosed with several different conditions, including hyperkinetic cerebral palsy.  

Because of some of those conditions, Hope has chronic pain in her neck, back, abdomen and legs. Sometimes that pain has been so great that she couldn’t even get out of bed.  

She has also suffered from migraines – up to three a week.  

The pain was so overwhelming that eventually Hope was only able to go to school about 50 per cent of the time. That made her feel frustrated and discouraged – so much so that Lisa can remember Hope bursting into tears one day because she was “tired of being broken.”  

Hope was referred to the Intensive Pain and Rehabilitation Program (IPRP) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.  

IPRP is a three-week comprehensive program to help kids manage pain so they can have a better quality of life. Hope finished the program in mid-November.  

During an interview, Hope said she was “a little nervous” to go on the radio, but at the same time “kind of excited to do it.” 

“It was fun,” she said. “It was actually really exciting to hear them getting all of the donors coming in. It was actually really nice to see; how excited the radio was and how much they cared about the cause.” 

Because of her experience, Hope would like one day to work in some aspect of medicine.  

“I would love to be in the medical profession, just helping kids like myself and other kids with any medical conditions,” she said. 

“Not too sure exactly where, but I know that that’s something that’s a big part of my life and I’d love to help other people.” 

Lisa said she and Richard were thrilled for Hope as she participated in the radiothon and they’re also extremely proud of how she’s coped with her condition. 

“Part of Hope's journey is the fact that she’s taking ownership of her own condition,” Lisa said. 

“As parents, it’s extremely hard to hand over the reins, but she’s coming up to that age where she will need to be responsible for her own health care.  

“So for us, we’ve just been extremely proud of her self-advocacy and her involvement and her outlook in her medical care. It’s a huge accomplishment and we’re very proud of everything that she does,” Lisa said. 

“I mean obviously she’s not cured. Hope’s conditions are not curable and pain will be chronic and will be with her for her entire life. 

“However, what the program does is really enable her to have strategies so the pain doesn’t define who Hope is.” 

Lisa notes despite her pain, Hope is driven to do well in school so she has continued to work hard and get good grades, despite the pain. 

Lisa and Hope are grateful for the way École Olds High School staff have accommodated her as she has dealt with her condition and juggled things in order to attend the IPRP sessions in Calgary. 


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