Last year more than 86,000 children were treated at the B.C. Children’s Hospital and nearly 550 of those patients came from Greater Victoria and many of their health issues were life-threatening.
The hospital is the only full-service hospital dedicated to children in B.C. and the Yukon and for many families it provides hope, even a second chance at life for our most vulnerable citizens.
That’s certainly been the case for a Langford’s Emma Locke, who with a remarkable level of poise and courage, entered the hospital in May to have a hole in her heart repaired by the surgical team at B.C. Children’s.
The condition, known as atrial septical defect, was discovered before she was born and was congenital. Emma’s older sister required open heart surgery at three, but her younger brother was born without the defect.
As Emma grew it was hoped the hole would mend itself, but although she thrived in life and grew to be an active, happy little girl, tests showed the hole was growing larger.
Surgery was required. Naturally the idea of heart surgery might reasonably be expected to cause a level of stressful, almost paralyzing anticipation. Not for Emma.
“She is an amazing little girl, that’s certain,” said her mother, Jennifer Locke. “Starting about November of 2015, we talked about her surgery and Emma wanted to do something to raise money to help support the hospital.”
“I wanted to do something to help other kids,” said Emma, now 11. “I know there are other kids like me and I wanted to help buy equipment for the hospital so they could keep helping (those children).”
In February 2016, only months before her own surgery, she launched Two Hearts, One Wish, a charity designed to raise money for the hospital through the sale of handmade bracelets.
The initiative has been successful, not only in raising $2,865 to date, but in engaging school friends, neighbours and others who have been inspired by the little girl’s courage and selflessness. Emma has become an ambassador for the hospital’s cause, appearing at a series of events to tell her story, sell bracelets and encourage the generosity of potential donors.
On Sept. 10 at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, her story will be one of many told at a gala fundraising event dubbed Harvest on the Harbour – A Night Under the Stars. The night will feature a silent auction, a gourmet four-course meal, live music and dancing. Emma’s story will be told to those in attendance and event organizer Nicole MacKinnon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, is certain her story will resonate with those in attendance.
“Emma, and others like her, is what this event is all about,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be able to host this event to raise money and awareness of the wonderful work being done at the hospital.”
Tickets for the event and more information are available at deltavictoriagala.com. Or call the hotel at 250-360-2999.