Clement Leong

Some say the smallest gifts are the best – while other claim that receiving an early, unexpected gift is even better; on December 8, 1997 I was both. But my parents’ emotions that day were not of joy, nor excitement; they felt fear and anxiety. You see, I was three months premature and weighed only two pounds at birth. I was so small in fact that I fit comfortably into the palm of my mother’s hand.

In many places in the world, I would not have survived to tell you my story. In those places, my life would have been measured in hours, not years. Fortunately, my parents lived close by and I was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Credit Valley Hospital shortly after I was born. I spent the first two months of my life in the company of caring health professionals at Credit Valley. It’s because of them and my own strength that I am able to take part in this important campaign nearly 14 years later, to raise funds for the new Erin Mills Regional Women’s and Children’s Health Centre, which includes the NICU.

Each year thousands of babies are born at Credit Valley Hospital; approximately 15% of them require the special care that I received. Every year there are hundreds of stories of survival that your generosity enables.

On behalf of those babies, the ones yet to be born, and myself, I thank you for giving us a fighting chance at life.