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  • This post has been submitted by the mother of a young Central Alberta father.  He moved to Calgary years ago to be closer to medical care.   His wife grew up in Sylvan Lake and Lacombe.  Together they’re raising 2 children and unfortunately their future is uncertain.  

    From Julie. 

    You may or may not have seen a desperate plea from a Central Alberta family trying to save a loved one’s life.  This is the kind of situation that requires a really large number of people to help out.  You never know who’s going to step forward and become someone’s hero.  The key is, they have to know about the situation before they can act on it.  So.. here’s a bit of information about this

    Alex’s Journey

    Having a baby is supposed to be a wonderful time in your life. Alex was born looking healthy; however, it all went wrong for him at 22 months of age.

    After being rushed by his Father and I by car to our nearby city hospital, Alex was hospitalized for 5 days with a 105 degree fever, which nothing would bring down. Alex was in so much pain, screaming a blood curdling sound that made you think someone was murdering this poor baby slowly.

    Once at hospital he was whisked away to try to identify the problem. They told us he was a mess inside and needed to be airlifted to Sick Children’s Hospital. Once there it became a series of surgeries and a lengthy hospital stay. His kidneys were being affected by a blockage he had developed.

    By age four he lost one kidney and again needed several hospital visits and surgeries to help save his other kidney. The doctors explained that Alex has Chronic Renal Failure and would eventually need a kidney transplant. At age 8 we almost lost him again due to a potassium overload in his remaining kidney that gradually slowed his heart dangerously. We made another trip to Sick Children’s Hospital to get his levels back down before his heart stopped.

    Through all these hardships Alex always remained a tough little guy. Now as a 29-year-old with a loving wife and 2 little ones, the time has come for our son and he is in need of a kidney.

    My name is Julie, I am his mother and I have said from the beginning of this journey that I will give my kidney. That being said, it would be wise to have more donors that are willing as well to help him have a greater chance of success. His older brother has also volunteered, so please help us give Alex and his family a happy, healthy life.

    Julie (mom)

    If you have Blood Type O and this something you could do, our family would be so grateful to have the chance to keep him in our lives and give him the opportunity to watch his children grow up. Anyone can be tested to see if they are a match. You will need Alex’s full name so please visit the Facebook Group we have set up and reach out to our admin/s. https://www.facebook.com/groups/708888052863495/

    To Get Tested: 403 944 4635


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    Health

    ‘Dignity and wisdom’: Chief justice praises Gascon after final high-court case

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    OTTAWA — Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon received a standing ovation Thursday after hearing his final case on the high court.
    Gascon graciously thanked his family and colleagues, saying it is an immense privilege to be a judge.
    Last month, Gascon,…


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  • OTTAWA — Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon received a standing ovation Thursday after hearing his final case on the high court.

    Gascon graciously thanked his family and colleagues, saying it is an immense privilege to be a judge.

    Last month, Gascon, 58, announced plans to retire for unspecified personal and family reasons.

    He said this week he has long struggled with anxiety and depression, and while he has generally been able to manage the illness, it recently led to a difficult episode.

    Gascon said he suffered a panic attack before he briefly went missing May 8. He profusely apologized for the uncharacteristic absence, citing the effects of his difficult career decision and a change in medication.

    In the crowded courtroom Thursday, Chief Justice Richard Wagner praised Gascon as an exceptional person.

    “Our esteemed colleague has served Canadians with dignity and wisdom,” Wagner said. “His commitment and friendship will be missed.”

    Justice Sheilah Martin shed tears.

    Gascon officially steps down Sept. 15 but will continue to have input into judgments flowing from cases he has heard, as long as they are released within six months of his retirement date.

    Judgments released after mid-March will note that Gascon had no input into the decision.

    “My work as a judge is far from complete,” he said. “I can assure you that I will continue.”

    The Canadian Press


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    Health

    What are panic attacks and what causes them? A look at the issue

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    TORONTO — Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon, who briefly went missing in Ottawa last week, recently explained that his disappearance was caused by a panic attack. Here’s a look at the science and the stigma around the issue:
    WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK?


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  • TORONTO — Supreme Court Justice Clement Gascon, who briefly went missing in Ottawa last week, recently explained that his disappearance was caused by a panic attack. Here’s a look at the science and the stigma around the issue:

    WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK?

    Andrew Jacobs, a psychologist with the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, said panic attacks are “a sudden surge in anxiety or an uncomfortable feeling that go from zero to 60 within a few minutes.” Panic attacks are defined by a certain set of symptoms that can include increased heart rates, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating and a fear the person is dying. Jacobs said a person must experience four out of 13 symptoms as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

    WHAT CAUSES AN ATTACK?

    The Canadian Mental Health Association says panic attacks can be brought on by stress, fatigue or even excessive exercise. Jacobs says there are two types of panic attacks: cued and uncued. “Cued attacks happen as a result of someone already being very worried or fearful of something that can escalate into panic,” he said. “Uncued, which feels like the panic attacks come literally out of nowhere — it can even happen in the middle of sleep.” Gascon said in his statement that on the afternoon he went missing, he was affected by both a change in medication and a “heart-rending career decision.” He announced in September he plans to retire.

    HOW DOES A PERSON COPE WITH A PANIC ATTACK?

    There are many options for treating anxiety and panic attacks, including medication and counselling. One in particular is called cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. According to St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, CBT can include such methods as confronting a feared situation, as well as breathing techniques and replacing anxious thoughts with realistic ones. In Gascon’s case, he said his recent episode had been “taken care of and treated with the necessary medical support.” 

    CAN YOU RETURN TO WORK AFTER A PANIC ATTACK?

    Gascon said in his statement that he is “fully capable” of performing his duties as a judge, and Chief Justice Richard Wagner said in his own statement that Gascon continues to have his “full support and confidence.” Jordan Friesen, the national director of workplace mental health at the Canadian Mental Health Association, said it should be “relatively simple” for Gascon to return to work, given that panic attacks tend to be time-limited. “I think the question becomes, for him and for his employer, is to understand what to do if a situation like that happens again,” said Friesen. “My hope would be that if he’s experiencing symptoms of a panic attack again that he’s able to go and identify this to his employer and seek appropriate support — much like you would if you were at work and started feeling ill with the flu.”

    HOW HAVE ATTITUDES TOWARD MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

    Last year, the family of late Supreme Court justice Gerald Le Dain went public with the story of his departure from the court in 1988, saying then-chief justice Brian Dickson forced Le Dain out after he was hospitalized with depression. A former top aide to Dickson had previously written that the decision was made because the Supreme Court had a heavy load at the time and could not handle being short a judge, but Le Dain’s family told CBC he would have returned after a short time off to recuperate. In contrast to the way Le Dain was allegedly treated, the response to Gascon’s public statement has been overwhelmingly positive. Wagner said Gascon’s explanation took courage, while Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould thanked him for sharing his struggle. Doron Gold, a former lawyer who now works as a psychotherapist with Homewood Health, said the response illustrates the way attitudes have shifted — though he added there’s still much work to be done. “Things are so much better than they used to be, and they’re so far away from where they should be,” said Gold.

    Adam Burns, The Canadian Press


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