Hamilton mother launches Wish Heart Fund to honour infant son, Jack Wishart

Community Jun 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Though his time on earth was tragically cut short, Maria Wishart wants others to know the joy her infant son Jack brought to so many people.

At just five months old, Jack was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Following visits to McMaster Children’s Hospital and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, the outlook appeared bleak.

At Sick Kids, the family was told Jack had 1.5 million white blood cells, compared to the normal level of 10,000.

“They told us that he probably wasn’t going to make it,” Wishart recalled.

Jack pulled through and later underwent chemotherapy at McMaster. Jack and his devoted family caregivers spent five months at the hospital’s 3B2 inpatient ward, where Jack made a lasting impression on staff. He took his first steps and learned to crawl during his time there.

Jack underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. But before his fragile immune system could recover, he developed pneumonia. He passed away in May 2017, at 13 months.

“The silver lining to this for Jack is that he was so little, he didn’t know what was going on,” Wishart recalled. “And so, he loved the attention. The nurses loved him. He was in his Jolly Jumper in the doorway right by the nurses’ station. He would bounce and bounce.”

During Jack’s hospital stay, Wishart spent her nights at McMaster, tending to his every need.

Unfortunately, that meant sleeping on a hospital bed not built for optimum comfort.

Earlier this year in February, Wishart launched the Wish Heart Fund as a tribute to Jack and to help other parents have a better night’s sleep. Wishart is a teacher at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School and a Mountain resident.

She got in touch with Parker Neale, senior development officer, business and community engagement, at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.

Wishart learned that once her fundraising effort reaches the $25,000 mark, she can direct the funds to a cause of her choosing at the hospital.

“I wanted to do a fund where I could say, 100 per cent of the money that you donate to us, is going to go straight to the families and children who are fighting cancer,” Wishart said. “Because that’s important to me.”

Wishart hopes to help the hospital buy fold-out beds for parents in the 3B2 ward.

“I want to make things just a little bit better for the families,” she noted.

Since February, the Wish Heart Fund has raised about $8,000.

The first fundraiser, dubbed the Spring, Hope and Happiness Art Exhibition, asked youth 18 and under to create spring art for children with cancer. Art pieces were displayed online and 25 of the estimated 90 submitted works were showcased in the hospital.

Fundraising opportunities have been somewhat limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Wishart has also received support from online donors and a yoga fundraiser held in June.

To donate or to find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.hamiltonhealth.ca/wishheartfund.

Hamilton mother launches Wish Heart Fund to honour infant son, Jack Wishart

Campaign striving to help parents caring for sick children at McMaster Children's Hospital

Community Jun 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Though his time on earth was tragically cut short, Maria Wishart wants others to know the joy her infant son Jack brought to so many people.

At just five months old, Jack was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Following visits to McMaster Children’s Hospital and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, the outlook appeared bleak.

At Sick Kids, the family was told Jack had 1.5 million white blood cells, compared to the normal level of 10,000.

“They told us that he probably wasn’t going to make it,” Wishart recalled.

Jack pulled through and later underwent chemotherapy at McMaster. Jack and his devoted family caregivers spent five months at the hospital’s 3B2 inpatient ward, where Jack made a lasting impression on staff. He took his first steps and learned to crawl during his time there.

Jack underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. But before his fragile immune system could recover, he developed pneumonia. He passed away in May 2017, at 13 months.

“The silver lining to this for Jack is that he was so little, he didn’t know what was going on,” Wishart recalled. “And so, he loved the attention. The nurses loved him. He was in his Jolly Jumper in the doorway right by the nurses’ station. He would bounce and bounce.”

During Jack’s hospital stay, Wishart spent her nights at McMaster, tending to his every need.

Unfortunately, that meant sleeping on a hospital bed not built for optimum comfort.

Earlier this year in February, Wishart launched the Wish Heart Fund as a tribute to Jack and to help other parents have a better night’s sleep. Wishart is a teacher at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School and a Mountain resident.

She got in touch with Parker Neale, senior development officer, business and community engagement, at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.

Wishart learned that once her fundraising effort reaches the $25,000 mark, she can direct the funds to a cause of her choosing at the hospital.

“I wanted to do a fund where I could say, 100 per cent of the money that you donate to us, is going to go straight to the families and children who are fighting cancer,” Wishart said. “Because that’s important to me.”

Wishart hopes to help the hospital buy fold-out beds for parents in the 3B2 ward.

“I want to make things just a little bit better for the families,” she noted.

Since February, the Wish Heart Fund has raised about $8,000.

The first fundraiser, dubbed the Spring, Hope and Happiness Art Exhibition, asked youth 18 and under to create spring art for children with cancer. Art pieces were displayed online and 25 of the estimated 90 submitted works were showcased in the hospital.

Fundraising opportunities have been somewhat limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Wishart has also received support from online donors and a yoga fundraiser held in June.

To donate or to find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.hamiltonhealth.ca/wishheartfund.

Hamilton mother launches Wish Heart Fund to honour infant son, Jack Wishart

Campaign striving to help parents caring for sick children at McMaster Children's Hospital

Community Jun 29, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

Though his time on earth was tragically cut short, Maria Wishart wants others to know the joy her infant son Jack brought to so many people.

At just five months old, Jack was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Following visits to McMaster Children’s Hospital and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, the outlook appeared bleak.

At Sick Kids, the family was told Jack had 1.5 million white blood cells, compared to the normal level of 10,000.

“They told us that he probably wasn’t going to make it,” Wishart recalled.

Jack pulled through and later underwent chemotherapy at McMaster. Jack and his devoted family caregivers spent five months at the hospital’s 3B2 inpatient ward, where Jack made a lasting impression on staff. He took his first steps and learned to crawl during his time there.

Jack underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. But before his fragile immune system could recover, he developed pneumonia. He passed away in May 2017, at 13 months.

“The silver lining to this for Jack is that he was so little, he didn’t know what was going on,” Wishart recalled. “And so, he loved the attention. The nurses loved him. He was in his Jolly Jumper in the doorway right by the nurses’ station. He would bounce and bounce.”

During Jack’s hospital stay, Wishart spent her nights at McMaster, tending to his every need.

Unfortunately, that meant sleeping on a hospital bed not built for optimum comfort.

Earlier this year in February, Wishart launched the Wish Heart Fund as a tribute to Jack and to help other parents have a better night’s sleep. Wishart is a teacher at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School and a Mountain resident.

She got in touch with Parker Neale, senior development officer, business and community engagement, at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation.

Wishart learned that once her fundraising effort reaches the $25,000 mark, she can direct the funds to a cause of her choosing at the hospital.

“I wanted to do a fund where I could say, 100 per cent of the money that you donate to us, is going to go straight to the families and children who are fighting cancer,” Wishart said. “Because that’s important to me.”

Wishart hopes to help the hospital buy fold-out beds for parents in the 3B2 ward.

“I want to make things just a little bit better for the families,” she noted.

Since February, the Wish Heart Fund has raised about $8,000.

The first fundraiser, dubbed the Spring, Hope and Happiness Art Exhibition, asked youth 18 and under to create spring art for children with cancer. Art pieces were displayed online and 25 of the estimated 90 submitted works were showcased in the hospital.

Fundraising opportunities have been somewhat limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Wishart has also received support from online donors and a yoga fundraiser held in June.

To donate or to find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.hamiltonhealth.ca/wishheartfund.