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Adalynn Gaudet

When Adalynn (Addie) Gaudet was three years old, her parents, Justina and Sheldon, noticed she was having balance issues. She was unsteady on her feet and wouldn’t ride her bike, swing on a swing set, or run too fast. And she would always call for help when going down the stairs.

Addie’s parents were very concerned and took her to their local hospital in PEI to have her checked out. They thought she could have an ear infection, which can cause balance problems, but there was no infection. The following day she saw an eye doctor.  

Addie’s eye doctor discovered an abnormality around her optic nerve through some eye tests. She was immediately sent to the emergency department to have a CT scan. Unfortunately, the results showed a large growth in her brain stem. Addie was sent to the IWK’s Emergency Department that day by ambulance, where an experienced pediatric emergency nurse was waiting for her.

At the IWK, Addie had an MRI to investigate the abnormality further. Her neurosurgeon, Dr. Simon Walling, determined she needed brain surgery to remove a 6 cm tumour from her brain stem. The tumour was blocking the flow of her cerebral spinal fluid, causing swelling in her brain. The fluid had built up and was causing her to have trouble walking.

Thankfully, Addie’s tumour was not cancerous.

As part of Addie’s recovery in the IWK’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), she saw a physiotherapist who provided support to correct fine motor delays caused by the tumour. She was able to return home a week later and was followed closely by the IWK.

Unfortunately, 10 months later, an MRI showed that Addie’s tumour had returned and grown. She needed another brain surgery to remove the tumour. Thankfully, it was also not cancerous.

Addie, now five years old, had a recent MRI that showed her tumour may have returned. She will have a repeat MRI in August 2022 to confirm the findings and determine the plan to remove the tumour with the hope it won’t return.

“We could never imagine not having the IWK,” says Addie’s parents. “The care was incredible. We couldn’t thank them enough for everything they did for us.”


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