• James Parry

A very special blood drive for a very special Rigaud youngster set for December 2


PHOTO BY ERIC POITRAS

Young Tomasz has taken up boxing and is determined to come out a winner in his fight against his auto-immune disorder.

His name is Tomasz. He lives in Rigaud with his parents, Patrycja Kaganiec and Éric Poitras, and his little sister Amelia. And when he was born back in 2010, he was a healthy young boy without a care in the world.

As time passed, however, and he was half way through his second year of life, he began developing various respiratory infections, experiencing never-ending coughs, croup, and pneumonia. Eventually, other unusual signs made his parents worry even more. And so they went to their pediatrician who, in turn, advised them to take young Tomasz to the Ste. Justine Children’s Hospital in Montreal.

Following a full day of tests, they returned the following day for a lumber puncture. Doctors feared the worst but happily, those results came back negative. And so the mystery continued. What could possibly be wrong with their child?

After a full summer of never-ending tests in 2013, doctors finally concluded that Tomasz had an auto-immune disorder, and that, for some reason, his body was producing antibodies for good cells which made him vulnerable to infections, amongst other things.

Despite his tender age, however, Tomasz refused to let the news get him down. Together with the support and encouragement of his parents, he said he was determined to fight. Even taking up boxing lessons with his dad, Eric, co-owner of the Carousel Restaurant in Hudson together with his father, Joe, to better prepare him mentally for the challenges ahead. Even when things were not easy, his joyful, smiling face never faded and kept his parents afloat. Tomasz fought. And is still fighting all of it like a champion.

While everything is currently under control and he can go about his young life just like any other child of his age, his mom - with the full endorsement of Hema-Quebec - has organized a blood drive in his honour. And in honour, she says, of all youngsters that also need blood products or byproducts in order to lead a more healthy life.

With young Tomasz as honourary president for the day, It is being held at the Centre Prénatal et Jeunes Familles, 486, rue Chicoine, in Vaudreuil-Dorion Wednesday, December 2, from 1 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Appointments in advance are requested and these can be made by calling 1 800 343-7264.

Says Kaganiec, "On behalf of our son and all the kids in need, this day means so much to us and Tomasz is really looking forward to it. At times, people tend to forget that little hearts also need our help. ‘Tis the season to give. And we are hoping that people will be most generous."

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