After seeing specialists and the inside of doctor’s offices and operating rooms for much of her 15 years, Amisha Hockridge wants to see something more pleasant.
Hockridge recently learned that she has been approved to have a trip granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Amisha recently submitted a list of three dream destinations for a family vacation and has had one meeting with a Wish Coordinator to move the wish a step closer to reality.
“At first I didn’t think it was real. I though it was a scam,” she chuckled. “But when reality set in, I was really happy because I never get to go on a trip.”
“We never get to go anywhere without something medical happening. So, I just wanted to go somewhere and not worry about going to the doctor or the hospital,” she said.
The 15-year-old was born with Microtia, a rare condition where she was born without an outer and middle right ear. And while that condition impacts one out of 10,000 children, she was among the one in 8,000 who developed more serious complications. As a result, she has now had a total of 14 surgeries on her ear, kidneys, spine, and bowel as she continues to deal with a host of additional medical issues.
“It’s huge for her because we look at this as an accomplishment for her just because she’s been through so much. I think it’s an honour for her to have a Wish,” admitted her mom, Veena Hockridge. “I think it made her look forward to something. She’s got her bad days. Anybody would after you go through all the surgeries and stuff.”
The family has made weekly trips to Medicine Hat for four years and multiple trips to Calgary since she was 6 months old, sometimes weekly, to meet with one of their team of eight to twelve surgeons and specialists to address these ongoing medical issues.
She is currently gearing up for a jaw surgery in Regina and will be seeing a specialist at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio referred by her gastrointestinal specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in order to determine the treatment options for a bowel condition. Additionally, she will be seeing her orthopedic specialist at the ACH in July to make plans to deal with a worsening scoliosis problem.
The ongoing medical issues have put a strain on the family’s finances. “This is ongoing. We still do need the help. WE fundraised for her jaw surgery, bot then she needed two back braces and a CPAP machine and that was $7,500. So, it’s like we get a step ahead and then it’s two back,” Veena Hockridge admitted.
They are currently reaching out for financial support to help cover their upcoming medical expenses. People can purchase Marlin Travel gift cards in support of their flight expenses to Ohio and donations can also be made through a trust fund at the Innovation Credit Union (The Amisha Hockridge Medical Trust Fund).
Mike Hockridge explained that the jaw surgery will help fix several issues his daughter is facing.
“With Microtia patients one of the common things that comes with it is something called Hemifacial Microsomia which essentially means half your body grows slower than the other half. That’s apparent in her jaw where it’s smaller on one side than the other because one side of the body didn’t develop properly,” he said.
They have worked with a local orthodontist to widen her palate and get her teeth lined up so she can chew properly, and the surgery will develop a jaw joint which is currently missing. Her jaw will be wired shut for eight weeks following the procedure which is not covered by government health care.
“The majority of the time that people get the jaw distractions if for cosmetic reasons, but this isn’t cosmetic. It’s a birth defect that affects jaw and alignments and it will help her breathing and her apnea and help her airway issues during future surgeries.”
They are also accessing a specialist in Oho to have tests done and explore a bowel surgery. As she has aged Amisha has developed more problems as a result of her bowels not working efficiently without daily laxatives for almost 12 years. She endures frequent hospitalization when this issue becomes problematic.
“The government has said that they would let us go see the surgeon and get some tests done but we just don’t have the money for travel and meals and stuff like that,” he explained.
Also looking on the horizon is a concern over a worsening scoliosis of her spine. She currently wears a back brace for 23 hours a day, but she could be facing a surgery to alleviate this problem. Additionally, they are closely watching her spine as at the age of two-and-a-half she had a nine-hour surgery to treat a tethered spine – a condition which could reoccur in the future.