Register Now and Fundraise
Top Fundraising Adult and Top Fundraising Child will win a new bike donated by
Oakville Cycle and Sport!
Your fundraising dollars have a local, national and international impact for children living
with congenital heart disease and pediatric stroke.
Every dollar you raise goes directly to supporting our unique initiatives as
Gabrielle's Ride is run entirely by volunteers
Every dollar you raise has a huge impact, so please start your fundraising now!
Send your personalized fundraising page link to your family, friends and colleagues and
ask them to donate today.
Invite your friends on FaceBook to make a donation and support you.
Collect pledges and hand them in at the Registration Desk on July 21st.
Sarah - living with congenital heart disease and pediatric stroke
I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I spent my childhood living my life like every other kid. There would be trips to the mall, snowball fights with my friends and lots time spent with family.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and I liked it that way. When I was 15, things changed, dramatically. I had a stroke on a Monday morning just before school started for the week.
As my dad called 911, I heard him say, “she had a stroke”, and I did not understand what he was talking about. Turns out that I was in for a big learning curve. Once arriving at the Hospital for Sick Children, doctors ordered an MRI and CT scan. The results were that I had just suffered an ischemic stroke. It was later found that I had two holes in my heart which had most likely caused the blood clot to travel to my brain. I had no irregular heartbeat or murmurs prior to my stroke and there after. The only possible sign that there was something wrong before my stroke was that my nail beds had taken a purplish shade - kind of like when you are cold - about 6 months before. I had 3 procedures since and the holes in my heart have since been taken care of.
|As I lay on my hospital bed, trying to make sense of what had happened, I decided that I would fight for my independence. According to doctors, I was now a hemiplegic individual that would not walk. I was determined to prove them wrong. I used a wheelchair for the first couple of months, then graduated on to a cane for 6 months until I was able to walk by myself (that is the power of positive thinking!). In the beginning, I had trouble doing everyday things like transferring from bed to walking position, putting my shoes on and tying them, putting my hair up (ponytails were no longer an option). Even using the bathroom, I strived for my independence. Some of my challenges came to me with time and others came by learning a new way of achieving the same result.
Transferring from bed to walking position came to me within the first two months of rehabilitation. Re-learning how to tie my shoes or my hair was tough. I went months without having a new method that worked but I kept trying. Eventually, I figured out a way that worked for me.
Having something as life-altering as a stroke is hard but not impossible. With words of encouragement and trust from those around us, we can do anything we want - stroke or no stroke.