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Rory Pinkham

Rory Pinkham is an incredible nine-year-old who lives in Summerside PEI. She has a wonderful family that surrounds her including her mom, dad and younger sister and brother. Rory has a smile that can light up any room, but her life has not been easy when it comes to her health. 

In September 2012, Rory's mom Shalyn was six and a half months pregnant, and everything was going well. However, one day after working her shift as a medical radiation technologist, she was at home when she suddenly started to experience unusual pains. Her husband drove her back to their local hospital, and it was determined she was in premature labor. Rory Jane was born extremely premature via emergency c-section at only 24 weeks and 6 days gestation. She weighed 1 lb. 8oz when she was born. 

Once stabilized, Rory was quickly transported via Life Flight to the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Over the next three months, Rory endured many different medical procedures, including multiple surgeries for ruptured blood vessels in her head, and procedures on her eyes and heart. Rory showed her fighting spirit and worked hard on breathing and growing, eventually being discharged to their local hospital near her original due date at Christmas time for a few more weeks, and finally being at home with her family 4 months after being born.

“Spending those early days at the IWK NICU shaped us and how we approached parenthood in so many ways. The staff were a consistent source of support and care; they were always there to encourage us in hands-on parenting and took time to answer the many medical questions we had. They gave us the confidence and encouragement to do things on our own,” says Shalyn.

Rory has experienced lasting effects from her extreme prematurity and continues to be followed by many services at the IWK. She has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and while she cannot communicate verbally, she is very expressive and understands so much of the world around her. Rory’s family and care team are working towards a goal of augmentative communication, where she can rely on switches to communicate with everyone around her. She is a joyful and inspirational little girl who is always smiling. Rory is truly an IWK hero.

Rory Pinkham, IWK patient

The IWK has always provided us with excellent care, right from the beginning days of Rory's life, and for that, we will be forever grateful.

~Shalyn Pinkham, Rory's mom


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