After 52 surgeries in 18 years, Kaitlyn O’Brien is on a mission to give back to the place she calls her second home. At age 12, Kaitlyn established a fund in her name at SickKids, in hopes that by her 18th birthday, her name would be engraved on the donor wall in the hospital atrium – a goal she is honoured to have achieved.

“Immediately after I was born, I was rushed to SickKids in critical condition, in needing life saving treatment. My body was incapable of performing some of the basic necessities of life, including digestion and elimination. As a result, I spent my first few years connected to multiple machines, covered head to toe in wires, fighting for my life.

As I grew older, more complications arose. My bladder and kidney function deteriorated and my body rejected multiple forms of modern medicine, despite the efforts of my complex care team. There were multiple moments throughout my journey that left my parents extremely scared – the doctors said I was failing to thrive and were not optimistic about my survival.

My eventual diagnosis of VACTERL Syndrome – a disorder that affects multiple body systems – was a blessing because it eliminated the unknown, and was a step in the direction to wellness. VACTERL Syndrome has no cure, which means I will never get better, but I will get stronger. It is only through the unwavering support of my family, friends, and my care team at SickKids that I am who I am today.”

– Kaitlyn O’Brien

Kaitlyn’s story illustrates the power of perseverance through adversity. She is now 21 years old, and through her passion and determination has proudly raised over $40,000 for SickKids. All funds donated through The K.O Fund are directed to the Highest Needs of the Urology Department, both of which helped Kaitlyn when she was a SickKids patient.

“Choose kindness. Choose The K.O Fund”

– K.O Co.

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