Spencer is an active, outgoing and upbeat 13 year old who loves the outdoors and spending time with friends. A random accident on a family member’s acreage last August almost cut his young life short. He was roaming the area on a quad with his aunt and coming to a stop when the quad lost its traction and he tumbled down a hill and into a barb wire fence. Spencer was able to get up right away but was confused and his aunt immediately took him to the local emergency room. He was bleeding from a small wound on his neck and chest but upon admittance the doctors knew there was something far more serious going on. He was airlifted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton where surgeons went to work trying to fix a large tear in is trachea that had been caused by the accident. The doctors were surprised Spencer had made it to the hospital, let alone survived the trip to the Stollery as the tear had caused extreme breathing difficulties.
A long day of surgery ended with a medical trachea being inserted in place of his own, as his own was far too damaged to operate on and he was also left with permanent damage to his vocal cords. For the first two weeks following surgery he was monitored at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and was then transferred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital so he could be closer to home. His parents were told he would never speak again and would need a feeding tube as he wouldn’t be able to swallow. Spencer decided to prove them wrong and tried daily to engage his throat muscles and re-learn to swallow. His determination paid off as he now eats on his own and can speak very quietly. He will always be monitored for fluid build up in his trachea and is at risk of suffocation so even a common cold or infection can be deadly. To keep him healthy he also has a medical professional accompany him to school and his parents watch him very carefully at night.
Despite all of his challenges, Spencer lives life to the fullest and remains positive about his experiences. His dad explains: “I think we’ve had a tougher time coming to terms with all of this [than he has]. He’s accepted it and never complains.” Despite his miraculous recovery, fears of losing Spencer are never far from his younger brother’s mind. To this day he worries about him all the time and remembers what it was like to visit his big brother at the hospital.
Several years ago, the family took a vacation to Disneyland and Spencer wants to recreate it with a trip to another popular Disney destination--Disney World. He hopes to one day become a pilot so Children’s Wish is working with local companies to grant him his wish of flying a plane while in Florida. Thanks to Spencer’s Wishmakers’ Dragonboat team and MEG Energy Spencer’s family will be heading off this fall on the trip of a lifetime.