Across Connecticut, Walmart and Sam’s Club associates are in the midst of a major fundraising effort for Connecticut Children’s. Walmart and Sam’s Club will raise funds from June 10 through July 7, inviting customers to donate, hosting various fundraising activities within their stores and eagerly awaiting a visit from Gavin David, Connecticut Children’s 2019 Champion Child.
2019 marks the 32nd anniversary of Walmart’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, an organization that raises millions of dollars annually for children’s hospitals across North America. In Connecticut, the campaign raises more than $270,000 annually. These funds enable our team of pediatric experts and care coordinators to continue providing access to breakthrough research, advanced treatments for both rare and common diseases, and innovative health and safety programs to every child.
Children like Gavin
Gavin is an ebullient child, always happy, always running, says his mother, Lindsay. “He’s a ball of sunshine,” she says. Gavin’s journey through Connecticut Children’s Medical Center began in March 2017, two weeks after he woke up with a bloody nose. His mother, Lindsay, figured it was just winter in New England with the dry air, put a humidifier in his room, and let it go. But the next weekend the family went to a foot race, and the 2-year-old Gavin was very clingy and didn’t want to be put down. The following day he had a slight fever, which the doctor thought might be an ear infection and for which he prescribed antibiotics. It all seemed pretty typical. Then Gavin’s face started swelling and stomach got larger.
Three pediatrician visits within five days and after a battery of tests were run, the pediatrician called at 7:30 on the morning of March 28, 2017. “He said, ‘Your son has leukemia, and you need to take him to the emergency room right away,’” Lindsay recalls. “They were worried because his lymph nodes and spleen were enlarged from the leukemia and his platelets were dangerously low.” Gavin was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and spent the next 26 days in the hospital. When he was diagnosed, his white blood cell count was 480,000 (typical counts are in the range of 4,300 to 10,000) and 95 percent of them were leukemic.
The doctors put a port in Gavin’s chest so he could more easily receive chemotherapy two days after he was diagnosed and started the chemo that same day. The first nine months were weekly trips to Connecticut Children’s for chemo, blood tests and checkups and a total of 20 more nights in the hospital. He is now into the maintenance phase of treatment where he gets his chemo at home orally every day and has one visit to the hospital a month to get treatment which some months also include sedation, a spinal tap and chemo put into his spine to make sure he doesn’t relapse in his spine or brain. He has been in complete remission since May 1, 2017, but he will continue his monthly visits and daily oral chemo as a preventative measure until June 20, 2020. “He’s doing great,” says Lindsay. “Now, when he refuses to go to bed, I’m happy, because that’s normal kid stuff. He’s doing normal three-year-old stuff, and that’s just great.”
How can you help?
When you’re out running errands and find yourself at Walmart, please thank them for their support or ask how you can help! Every store has something special happening to encourage customer and employee participation.
If you visit the Torrington, Waterbury or Putnam Walmart, you will find a wishing well where you and your family can contribute to the “One Million Penny Challenge.” Our friends at the Wallingford Walmart have a pop-up popcorn stand, which is hard to resist, but the most exciting part of the 2019 Walmart campaign is “Flat Gavin”. You can find Flat Gavin in every store—just ask an associate for help locating him!
Connecticut Children’s relies on support from you and partners like Walmart and Sam’s Club to provide exceptional care, close to home. Thank you for your dedication to supporting local children’s healthcare.