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Jennifer Kitchen
Amount Raised
Fundraising Goal $3,500.00

My Message

It was 19 years ago that we received that call from Belleville General Hospital.  The doctor asked me to sit down, and he began talking. He asked me to repeat what he was saying so my family in the room could help me remember what I needed to do. I remember it like an old photograph in my head. I repeated what the doctor was telling me: “your daughter has a tumor in her cheek, it is very large.  Someone needs to come to the hospital to get the xrays and then you need to pack your family up, SickKids Hospital is waiting for you.”  I was in shock and the Doctor was right, I was a mess.  It was by far the longest drive of my life from Belleville to SickKids Hospital in Toronto. 

We had been at my parents house and had plans that evening to attend my cousins wedding celebration.  Joe decided to miss the wedding and take the girls to his parents as Amber had been sick all week at the cottage. 

We had taken Amber to the walk in clinic at the cottage that week where the Dr told us she had Pneumonia. She was on antibiotics and the next day spiked a fever of 104! Back to the clinic the Dr advised we go to the hospital as her breathing did not sound good and she needed chest X-rays.  The family packed up and headed for Belleville general (that was where my folks lived). Daddy was at a computer show in Toronto and met us at the hospital.  We were sent home, her lungs were fine but they pointed out she had an ear infection. That evening we hummed and hawed about what to do.  How could one Dr think her breathing was so bad that we needed to go to the hospital, but once there be told by another doctor it was only an ear infection? What was wrong with our baby?  The roof of Ambers mouth was slightly collapsed and we had been to many Dr’s and dentists over the prior months  to try to determine why.  That night we decided to take Amber back to Belleville general and specifically tell them there is something wrong with the roof of her mouth and leave it at that!! They called in a pediatrician and he ordered sinus xrays at 2am that Saturday morning.  Less than 12 hours later was when we got the call. We never made it to the wedding!

We spent a week at the hospital running test after test.  This tumor was the size of a grapefruit in my 2 year old baby’s face.  It was behind her mandible and had wrapped around her carotid artery and her airways, slowly choking her.  The biopsy determined it was not cancerous but it was too big to be removed from the inside of her mouth.  We were sent home for the weekend and scheduled for a partial mandibulectomy on the Monday. We spent the entire Saturday at the Zoo!

Most of you know how the rest of the story goes but for those who don’t...

It was a grueling 10 hour long surgery! The longest 10 hours of our lives. They can replace a heart in 6-8 hours, or so we were told! Dr Papsin intricately snaked an incision from the center of Ambers bottom lip, around her chin and then back around and down her neck.  He literally removed her frail tumor eaten mandible to expose the beast that had made her so ill. The tumor came out in tiny pieces which is why the surgery took so long.  Carefully trying to burn the tumour around her artery so as not to cause brain damage and then putting her back together again which included a steel plate and screws in her chin, and uncountable amount of stitches. Finally we were called in to see her. She was beautiful as usual and she was scared and crying.  How do you explain to a two year old what they are about to go through? I do believe that was a blessing! She didn’t know any better, she just kept going like this was life.  She amazed us all! She managed to figure out how to talk to us with a tracheotomy within a couple days! The nurses told us adults can’t figure that out but she just did it.  Joe and I were a hot mess and we cried a lot.  Watching your children go through anything like this was most definitely the worst thing...but...she was alive! Dr.Papsin said something to us that day when he came to give us a progress report.  “For you, this is the worst day of your lives.  For me, it is Monday...I do this everyday and Amber is in very good hands.” That has stuck with Joe and I over the years and we have even used that story to ease others in their time.  We spent one month at Sickkids recovering from that surgery and another 16 years being repeat guests to ensure that little bit around her artery didn’t grow back! 

Today our beautiful 2 year old girl is 21 years old, and in her 3rd year at Ryerson University studying Criminology.  Amber has had a rough go with her health and has struggled with this all her life.  I know this has been very hard for her and sometimes she is still angry about what life has dealt her.  My daughter Amber is tough as shit! She pulled through all of it! To this day she shows us that nothing will stop her! She has a voice and she uses it! She has this one life and she is going to live it!

It has been my yearly goal to be a SickKids advocate.  To give back to the hospital that saved my baby’s life. So each year I have tackled a fundraising event and am very proud to say that I have raised over $15,000 over the past 5 years.  This year our volleyball team is at it again!  We will be playing in a two day beach tournament at Ashbridges Bay in support of SickKids hospital.  I am truly honored to have some of the most beautiful, generous and kind humans in my life who consistently offer me their support with my fundraising efforts.  You know who you are and I love you all.

Please consider a donation to Sickkids in honor of my oldest daughter Amber Kitchen.  Together we will make a difference!

Event Date
May 1, 2019 12:00 AM
Location Name
Toronto Beach Volleyball July 13

My Team

Jennifer is part of Some Spike it HOT!!
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My Supporters (31)

Shawn Gibson donated $25.00
Jul 13, 2019 9:46 AM
Tim Nickerson donated $100.00
Jul 12, 2019 9:07 PM
Devon Kellar donated $25.00
Jul 5, 2019 6:34 PM
Kelly Funchion donated $50.00
Jul 5, 2019 11:39 AM
Rose Davies donated $100.00
Jun 25, 2019 7:40 PM
Wendy Martin donated $25.00
Jun 24, 2019 6:51 PM
Lisa Rennie donated $25.00
Jun 22, 2019 5:32 PM
Carrie McLeod donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 9, 2019 8:06 PM
Shelly Brough donated $25.00
May 31, 2019 10:09 PM
David Ball donated an undisclosed amount
May 23, 2019 12:48 PM
Gail and Steve Aker donated $50.00
Apr 29, 2019 9:17 AM
Johnny M donated $200.00
Apr 21, 2019 7:59 PM
Brock Elliott donated $100.00
Apr 21, 2019 11:07 AM
Angie McCullough donated $50.00
Apr 8, 2019 9:58 AM
Ruth Penberthy donated $50.00
Apr 7, 2019 2:49 PM
Mary Lynn Vanderwielen donated $100.00
Apr 6, 2019 11:38 AM
Lisa Chapman donated $100.00
Apr 6, 2019 8:10 AM
Jeff Stapley donated $100.00
Apr 5, 2019 2:52 PM
Sandra Nilsson donated $200.00
Apr 5, 2019 11:06 AM
Anita Garland donated $50.00
Apr 5, 2019 9:40 AM
Daniel Lee donated $100.00
Apr 1, 2019 8:54 AM
Heather McInnes donated $50.00
Mar 30, 2019 10:09 AM
Anonymous donated $250.00
Mar 28, 2019 4:15 PM
Jackie Richardson donated $50.00
Mar 20, 2019 9:50 AM
Louise & Perry Lush donated $50.00
Mar 12, 2019 7:39 PM
Carey Smith donated $50.00
Mar 10, 2019 10:35 AM
Maria Browne donated an undisclosed amount
Mar 8, 2019 7:54 PM
Linda Halton donated $50.00
Mar 5, 2019 9:21 AM
Linda & Jim Kitchen donated $100.00
Mar 2, 2019 3:07 PM
David & Linda Stapley donated $100.00
Mar 2, 2019 1:44 PM
Julie Manco donated $50.00
Mar 2, 2019 11:26 AM
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