A student at Collège Esther-Blondin, Gabriel, the victim of a serious accident in January 2017, is a new member of the Youth Challenge’s team of ambassadors. His mission: to help children like him win the biggest battle of their lives. 

January 21, 2017. There was fog on the lake. On his way home from a snowmobile ride, Gabriel, age 14, slammed into a dock and flew headfirst into a tree. 

Gabriel was in critical condition, and every minute counted. Initially admitted to the Lanaudière regional hospital, he was quickly transferred to the CHU Sainte-Justine, where more than twenty members of the trauma team awaited his arrival. 

Then, the diagnosis: fractures of the nose, jaw, orbital bone, and femur, on top of a severe head trauma that landed him in a coma for 10 days. Would he survive? Every possible outcome sprang to mind. 

When he woke up, his trials weren’t over. Gabriel had to learn everything all over again: how to walk, eat, speak, read, write… 

I understood that my son’s battle would become a family affair – and that it would involve a very big family. That Sainte-Justine would become our second home. That its donors would leave an indelible imprint on our hearts. That the school Gabriel would be attending would from now on be the school of life.

Caroline

Gabriel’s mom

His sight, his memory and his ability to feel certain emotions will always remain affected by his accident. But almost two years later, alive and well, Gabriel has come a long way. 

While last year was devoted to completely redoing his third year of high school, a few days ago, Gabriel entered the doors of his school once again, determined to succeed. 

Making his determination contagious 

Gabriel had a brush with death, but Sainte-Justine gave him back his life.  Thanks to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s donors, Gabriel had access to the best specialized care and the best technologies in pediatric traumatology.

During his hospitalization, equipment such as the mobile medical imaging device, the Licox, the transcranial Doppler, the RIK mattress and the expired CO2 monitor were central to his care. All were acquired thanks to the Youth Challenge.  

2018 09 11 11183246 Photo By Arianne Bergeron Web
Dr. Marianne Beaudin and Gabriel with his parents, at the the Sainte-Justine Youth Challenge's launching | © Arianne Bergeron

Accidents are the leading cause of death in children. This only goes to show that Gabriel’s recovery is one of medicine’s great successes. For his family, it’s a miracle. But the after-effects also show that we need to do more for the health of our children.

Proven time and again during his rehabilitation, Gabriel’s extraordinary determination was also demonstrated in his fundraising efforts for the 2017-2018 Youth Challenge: he and his brother, Charles, raised $16,000!

Today, as a new Youth Challenge ambassador, his dream is that Sainte-Justine can, continue to maximize their victories for all childhood accident victims like himself. And he invites you to join him in this goal. 

Well done, Gabriel, for your commitment!