Living Life to its Fullest

From the moment Madison “Madi” Leal from Guelph was born, her parents Sarah and Luis knew she would have a unique journey in life.

Madi (centre) poses for a photo with her father Luis (left) and her mother Sarah (right).

Luis, Madi and Sarah

“Madi suffered from a lack of oxygen to her brain during delivery, causing permanent damage,” explains Sarah.

Not meeting her milestones and experiencing multiple seizures during infancy, Madi was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), a condition that affects muscle tone and the development of motor skills.

“Madi’s CP is severe and it impairs her breathing, swallowing and movement,” says Sarah.

At McMaster Children’s Hospital

Madi began her journey with McMaster Children’s Hospital when she was two years old. To this day, the family still visits the Technology Access Clinic (TAC) at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

“The TAC helps children and adults like Madi who are unable to use speech to communicate,” says Sarah. “The teams taught Madi to express herself and use augmentative communication devices like voice-output aids.”

“Literally hundreds of people across Hamilton Health Sciences have come into our lives and helped take care of my daughter.”
– Luis

At the age of seven, Madi began visiting the Hospital regularly for injections to reduce spasticity, a condition that causes muscle stiffness. At 14, a gastrostomy tube was inserted into her abdomen so nutrition could be delivered directly to her stomach.

The transition  

Now an adult, Madi receives ongoing care at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre, which includes injections in the Comprehensive Spasticity Management Program and visits to the Adult Wheelchair and Seating Clinic.

The Leals are grateful for the care they receive at Hamilton Health Sciences, which enables Madi to experience life to the fullest. They regularly travel as a family and enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible.

“Literally hundreds of people across Hamilton Health Sciences have come into our lives and helped take care of my daughter,” says Luis. “This teamwork is why Madi is alive today and loving life.”

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Read more stories from the spring/summer Vital newsletter.