BARRHEAD - It will be a merry Christmas for the Schatz family.
The couple, Jason and Kristie, had expected their young family would be separated over the holiday because one of their children, Aubrey, would be at the Stollery Children's Hospital recovering from her latest surgery in October, to help correct problems and symptoms arising from her acute scoliosis.
Aubrey was expected to be at the hospital for two months in halo traction, however, Kristie says Aubrey is now at home recovering.
Aubrey, who is five, suffers from a rare genetic connective tissue disorder called Beal’s Syndrome that causes bones, joints, muscles and tendons and other tissue to form improperly. She also suffers from severe scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve, as well as joint and muscle issues.
"She's still in traction, but they wanted to get us home for Christmas," she said before the Nov. 27 opening ceremony of the Barrhead Bombers game against the Vegreville Vipers. Aubrey returned home on Nov. 22.
The Bombers invited the Schatz family to the game to present her with $2,100, which was raised at an Oct. 22 barbecue at Freson Bros. and topped with partial proceeds from their Oct. 29 home opener. The team also presented Kristie with the game stick and gave her two jerseys for Aubrey and her sister. The money is to help with associated costs for Aubrey’s medical treatment such as transportation and housing costs associated with multiple extended trips to the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
"Our team (at the Stollery) made it possible," she said. "We have our whole hospital set up at the house. "It is about the (COVID) restrictions and about her morale and how it impacts her healing."
Had Aubrey remained at the hospital because of the current restrictions, the only visitors allowed would have been Kristie and Jason.
"She wouldn't have even been able to see her sister," she said, reiterating the efforts of Aubrey's health team in making her early return home possible. "We have home care. Our head nurse comes twice a week to ensure everything is as it should be. And Aubrey is loving being home."
Kristie also thanked the Bombers as well as the community for their continuing support.
"Everyone has just been so wonderful throughout Aubrey's journey," she said.
In early 2018, Aubrey underwent halo treatment to lessen the curve in her spine, from 127 degrees to 55 degrees. She then underwent surgery to implant steel rods to help ensure the correction is permanent. All totaled, she was in the hospital for 76 days.
Unfortunately, in 2020, Aubrey needed to undergo another surgery to insert a new set of rods.
"The old rods failed ... and they couldn't be lengthened anymore," Kristie said, in an October interview. "This surgery has less to do about the rods and is more how her body is changing."