In February

Eleven-year-old local an ambassador for children’s hospital

Last year alone, more than 86,000 children were treated at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Last year alone, more than 86,000 children were treated at B.C. Children’s Hospital and nearly 550 of those patients came from the Greater Victoria region.

The hospital is the only full-service hospital dedicated to children in all of B.C. and the Yukon. Many of those cases were life-threatening.

Colleen Aird, philanthropy coordinator for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, said the hospital provides hope, even a second chance at life for the most vulnerable of the population — children.

That’s certainly been the case for one young lady who, with a remarkable level of poise and courage, entered the hospital in May 2016 to have a hole in her heart repaired by the surgical team at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Her name is Emma Locke, and even before birth, it was discovered that she had a small hole in her heart. The condition, known as atrial septical defect, was congenital (Emma’s older sister required open heart surgery by the age of three although her younger brother was born without the defect).

As Emma grew, it was hoped the hole would mend itself, but although she thrived in life and grew to be an active, happy little girl, tests showed the hole in her heart was growing bigger.

Surgery was required.

Naturally the idea of heart surgery might reasonably be expected to cause a level of stressful, almost paralyzing anticipation. Not for Emma, who lives in Langford.

“She is an amazing little girl, that’s certain,” said her mother, Jennifer. “Starting about November of 2015, we talked about her surgery and Emma wanted to do something to raise money to help support the hospital.”

Emma said she wanted to help buy equipment for the hospital.

“I wanted to do something to help other kids,” she said. “I know there are other kids like me and I wanted to help buy equipment for the hospital so they could keep helping (those children).”

So in February of 2016, only months before her own surgery, Emma launched Two Hearts, One Wish, a charity to raise money for the hospital through the sale of handmade bracelets.

The initiative has been successful, not only in raising $2,865 to date, but in engaging school friends, neighbours and others who have been inspired by the little girl’s courage and selflessness.

Emma has become an ambassador for the hospital’s cause, appearing at a series of events to tell her story, sell bracelets and encourage the generosity of potential donors.

On Sept. 10 at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, Emma’s story will be one of many told at a gala fundraising event dubbed Harvest on the Harbour — A Night Under the Stars. The night will feature a silent auction, a four course meal, live music and dancing. Emma’s story will be told to those in attendance and event organizer Nicole MacKinnon, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, is certain her story will resonate with those in attendance.

“Emma, and others like her, is what this event is all about,” said MacKinnon. “We’re thrilled to be able to host this event to raise money and awareness of the wonderful work being done at the hospital.”

Tickets for the event are available at deltavictoriagala.com.