We met Dr. Williams thirty years ago, when we arrived at Toronto's Hospital For Sick Children. Early that Monday morning, we flew from Calgary, AB with our very sick eight week-old son, Kel. Dr. Williams’ talent and skill as a surgeon saved our tiny baby boy, born with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage (TAPVD). I recall his kindness, honesty and patience at a very scary time for us, and the sincere reassurances from the now late, but so very great, Dr. Bob Freedom, that Dr. Williams was a genius and miracle worker! I certainly recall the support and family-like atmosphere of the cardiac ward staff at HSC during those many weeks Kel and I were there! There was joy and lots of hope on that ward!
Thirty years ago you saved our son's life for the first time! Surgery repair was needed immediately! Beginning in the evening, 13 August 1984, and working through the night. There have been countless breakthroughs and innovations, incredible technological advances in cardiology since his surgeries…but whatever knowledge and skills you had thirty years ago worked, and on each surgery anniversary, I quietly celebrate in my heart with joy, prayers and forever thankfulness, always remembering as well, the second repair you did for Kel in1985 – A SUCCESS!!!
Those surgeries and the next few years truly were rollercoaster rides for Kel, and our family! Amazingly, each year he got stronger and his heart kept adapting…I remember when Dr. Harder found that his ASD had closed on its own without any issues, and slowly, his tricuspid regurgitation and rhythm settled into its unique beat and still he carries on! I always remind Kel on those anniversary dates – feeling grateful that he does not have any memories of what his little body went through and how hard he fought to live and recover from those two surgeries, with the brilliant Dr. Williams and wonderful caring staff at HSC at his side, encouraging and hopeful. Dear and fabulous Dr. Joyce Harder kept a watchful eye on Kel's progress to 18 years of age, and now Kel sees Dr. Timothy Prieur. Dr. Williams fixed him so well – his other doctors have had very little to do but watch as he grew up!
We celebrated Kel's 30th birthday in June! He is a darling son, an awesome daddy and loving husband...Kel is a good man and has the kindest heart and we are so blessed to have him and his little family. As a child, he played hard and enthusiastically – biking, basketball, skating - and nervously, I watched him play football in high school. He has a physically challenging labor job in Alberta's oil industry and he works hard to provide for his family. Every day I pray his heart stays well and his health continues – and remind him to take care of himself so he has a long, full life – so that he also experiences the delights of grandchildren as my husband and I do!
Attached are photos of Kel, Brittany, 7 year-old daughter Lily and 20 month-old son Ryker on Kel's 30th birthday. See how much he has grown?! Considering he was just over 6 pounds at his first surgery and just 11 pounds at 10.5 months for his second surgery, he really has come a long way. Also attached is a photo of our little family before we went to Toronto, in 1984.
With gladness in my heart for the wonderful son I have, because you made him well, I send my sincerest appreciation to you on this important milestone day! We will never forget the struggles, challenges and the valiant efforts by everyone, for getting our sweet son to this day!
To view Kel's picture gallery, click here!