For a shy boy, James Quentien took a benevolent action that is making ripples in the community.
Last month, at his seventh birthday party, James asked his friends to each bring a toonie. He raised $24, and his parents matched the amount.
He wanted to give the money to a good cause, so he brought it to his mini-rugby coach and firefighter Tom Woods at the Esquimalt Fire Department.
“Can I buy the firefighters pizza?” he asked Woods.
“I think we’re all good on the pizza,” Woods said, and suggested another cause.
James’ $50 went to another little boy who lives on the other side of town, six-year-old Noah Hyde-Glover.
The two, until recently, had never met, but James took a step that could change Noah’s life.
Noah has Dravet sydrome, a severe type of epilepsy that affects young children.
“He can’t be left alone and we’re always scared he is having a seizure,” said Noah’s dad, Jed Hyde.
“We’ll try take him somewhere and he’ll drop down and smash his head on the the concrete.”
Caring for Noah is a consuming ordeal. Jed and his wife Christiana Glover have taken turns sleeping in Noah’s bed since the seizures started when he was just a few months old. Noah is prone to hurting himself, has no concept of safety and often bolts – though he runs slightly off-kilter, he moves quickly.
Noah’s little brother, Harlan, 3, “has given up playing with his older brother,” Glover explained. Busy little Harlan is too much for Noah to handle, and the older boy will tear out Harlan’s hair or give him a kick.
For the sake of Noah’s safety, for companionship and for his parents’ peace of mind, the Hyde-Glover family is hoping to raise $13,000 to get a seizure dog to help Noah.
Hyde, a firefighter with Victoria Fire Department, told Woods about the dog, and Woods made the connection between the two families.
James’ donation was just the first step.
Esquimalt firefighters will give half of all donations they collect at Buccaneer Days this weekend at Archie Browning Sports Centre to the Hyde-Glover’s effort to secure a seizure dog (the other half goes toward their mini-rugby program).
James’ Grade 1 class at Macaulay elementary school will also set up a donation box at Buccaneer Days, where they’ll be doing a corn roast, with all proceeds going to the cause.
Anyone not going to Buccaneer Days can drop off donations at any Victoria fire station, or donate online at www.4pawsforability.org/donation.html and specify that the money should go to Noah Hyde-Glover.
The seizure dog would be trained to stabilize Noah, to keep him from bolting and track him if he does, to smell the chemical reactions released by seizures and alert his parents. It would let Christiana and Jed both sleep in their own bed for the first time in five years.
James’ parents Cathy and Mark hope other families carry on the benevolence their son showed.
“We just wanted to instil in him the feeling of helping,” Cathy said. “He’ll never remember his (birthday) toys, but he’ll remember this.”
Mark said, “I think it’s important to teach younger children this, so that when they get older they can carry it on.”
When enough money is raised to get a seizure dog (4 Paws for Ability chips in $9,000 of the total $22,000 cost), it takes up to one year to train the dog before the animal can stay with the Hyde-Glover family.