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Volleyball fundraiser nets $18,000 for Stollery Children's Hospital

A fundraiser beach volleyball tournament held in St. Lina has raised over $18,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

ST. PAUL – A fundraiser beach volleyball tournament held in St. Lina Aug. 5-7 has raised over $18,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation in Edmonton. Last year, the fundraiser tournament raised $5,100. 

The team known as MAC, which stands for Mackenzie, Andrew, and Carter, won the 2022 Cabin Cup Invitational. The tournament had 18 teams competing, and according to Kale Seguin, one of the organizers, the teams were also encouraged to see who could fundraise the most.  

“One of our teams ended up actually exceeding $4,000 on their own,” said Seguin.

He said the Edmonton-based children’s hospital has been involved with his family’s life and the lives of many people involved with the event. He said the fundraiser acts as a way to give back to the foundation, and “we would just love to pass that on.”  

Personal stories shed light on worthy cause 
 
Shortly after Brett Seguin was born, he spent some time at the Stollery due to health complications, said Kale, describing his brother’s time at the hospital as a child. 

It was December 3, 1998, when Brett was born, according to Reanne Seguin, Kale and Brett’s mother. Brett was born healthy, but four weeks later, he was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

“It was basically a cold and he got really sick that they airlifted him from the St. Paul hospital to the Stollery,” she said. “We stayed there for about a week and they found a hole in his heart.” 

RSV rates are the highest in infants younger than the age of one, particularly infants within the first two months of their lives, according to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) study published in The Public Health Agency of Canada. 

At 23 years old, Brett is now healthy and was among the organizers of the tournament. According to Reanne, she also has a five-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect (VSD) five years ago, and was also sent to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. 

According to MyHealth Alberta, VSD is an “opening in the wall that separates the lower chambers of the heart,” and is the most common congenital heart problem, which means it develops before birth. Reanne said three holes were found in her daughter’s heart with one that remains. While open heart surgery is a possibility, “it’s looking like she will be able to live with this.”
 
Previously, the family had to go to the Stollery every three months for ultrasounds and electrocardiograms (EKG) among other tests, which then turned into every six months, then once a year, according to Reanne. 

Among the organizers of the tournament was also Julie Dubeau. Julie has a grandson named Cooper, who was born on Aug. 1, 2019, before being airlifted to Stollery at only 10 days old, according to information provided by Dubeau.  

Three days later, at the age of 13 days old, Cooper had undergone surgery on his aorta and also a VSD repair surgery. Cooper remained stable for a day and had his intubation removed on Aug. 14, 2019. 

But, he went into cardiac arrest, and Cooper’s chest had to be opened again. On Aug. 16, a slow process of weaning Cooper from the ECMO machine began.  

Roughly a month later, on Sept. 5, 2019, Cooper made a full recovery. According to information received from Dubeau, Cooper is now “a fully repaired, happy and healthy three-year-old whose appointments with the team at the Stollery Hospital have finally lessened." 
 
The family stated in the document, “We are forever grateful to have had such an amazing hospital that is so close to home.” They added, “Our son received the most amazing care from each and everyone of the staff members he was in contact with as they went above and beyond during his stay.” 

Tournament background 

The summer volleyball tournament had grown since its inception in 2017 when it was first held as a graduation celebration. The tournament, according to Kale, has been kept private because it is held on private property.  

RELATED: Volleyball tournament serves up funds for Stollery hospital 

“But, we have a lot of community members, friends, and family who came out to watch,” he said, adding that they also received support from business sponsors and contributors.  

“They helped cover the expenses of our tournaments, in excess too, and then all that extra money goes to Stollery as well… and it’s all local communities in the Lakeland area, and the support from our local businesses have been overwhelming as well.”  

Kale said the Stollery Children’s Hospital has been relevant in the lives of many people involved with the event.  

“I don’t think there’s a person at the event that doesn’t know somebody that hasn’t actually spent some time in that hospital.”