Mike & Laura McCullough Announced as We Can’t Wait Capital Campaign Ambassadors
March 6, 2017
Mike and Laura McCullough want you to know their son Cole.
“Cole loved to be tickled so much and he was really never in a bad mood,” says Laura. “If I had one word to describe Cole it would be love. He just radiated love. He loved everyone and assumed that everyone loved him too. He was so easy going and just had such a lovely spirit.”
Cole was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy before his first birthday. Often affecting boys, the progressive condition leads to muscle weakness and eventually heart and lung issues. The family spent nearly two years in and out of both adult and children’s hospitals, including Kingston, Regina, Montreal, Toronto, and as far away as Ohio.
“He was so special, we wish people could have known him and how he dealt with everything. Needles, blood tests, and procedures, he took it so well for such a little guy,” says Mike, who played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for over a decade. “Seeing what he went through, I don’t know how he did it. He was like a 25-year-old in a 3-year-old’s body. He was a total champ.”
The McCulloughs experienced first–hand the difference between adult and children’s hospitals. It’s why they are taking on the role of Ambassadors for the We Can’t Wait Campaign for Saskatchewan’s new maternal and children’s hospital.
“We are delighted to have Mike and Laura McCullough as ambassadors for the We Can’t Wait capital campaign for Saskatchewan’s new maternal and children’s hospital as we head into the final two year stretch of the campaign,” says Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. “By sharing their important story and allowing Cole’s memory to live on, Mike and Laura are putting a personal face on the need for a children’s hospital right here at home for our kids, moms, and families.”
“Children’s hospitals are different,” explains Mike, who is also a Board Member for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. “They make you as comfortable as possible during the worst time of your life. With family spaces, play areas, and restaurants, the atmosphere makes kids and families feel at home and takes their minds off the really hard parts. It makes kids and families feel special and helps take away some of the feelings of being so lost and alone.”
Tragically, Cole died in his sleep after suffering a seizure on February 19, 2009.
“We know what families are going through, how hard it is for them. One day it could be your kid, your grandchild, your niece, nephew, or neighbour,” says Mike. “It’s not something you think about. We thought it would never happen to us. It’s a tough reality check and it happens more than you think.”
“One of my most lasting impressions of being in hospital with Cole was that you could hear children crying for their moms and dads down the hall. Some parents needed to leave their child because the hospital was too far away, because they had other children, or because there was just so little room for someone to stay,” explains Laura. “This new hospital is so important to keep families together and give them a place that makes their experience, which is so terrible, just a little better. My heart’s desire is that a mom and dad can tackle whatever their child is going through in a place that gives them comfort.”
The McCulloughs say the time to donate is now.
“We need to do better and do more for kids like Cole. We can’t wait. Families can’t wait. Saskatchewan can’t wait. Please help us make it a reality.”