Mom trying to raise money to accompany son to Toronto for reconstructive surgery
- EFN Staff | February 21, 2018
Darnell needs surgery and his mom Trudi Mercredi wants to be there. But man is it expensive.
Costs of travel, accommodations and meals in Toronto are adding stress to a situation and a surgery that’s not only required but it’s something that she and her son want.
“He’s going to Toronto for a major surgery which is reconstruction of his face,” she said. “What they’re going to do is [taking] a piece of his skull from the back of his head and put it in the front of his face so he wouldn’t [need] anymore surgeries down the road. The bone would grow as he grows throughout his face and where his brain is going to be exposed.”
Mercredi’s 10-year-old son, Matty but is known as Darnell, was born with a condition that caused his brain to stick out of place. He had surgery when he was two-years-old where doctors placed a plate in the area of his brain which halted the full development on his face. Mercredi said she is terrified of the risky procedure but she wants to honour Darnell’s wishes to go forward with the surgery.
“He’s looking forward to it because he’s tired of people looking at him and staring at him,” said Mercredi, originally from James Smith First Nation but currently lives in Melfort. “Some people call him [down]. They’re mean and say he’s a freak [and ask] ‘why does he look the way he looks?”
When Mercredi heard that Darnell was considered for the reconstructive surgery, she thought of what the costs would be for travel, accommodation and meals. With the amount and date of surgery unknown, it’s something that she wants to be prepared for.
“The surgeon told me the surgery is covered. It’s just [the costs of] the flights, accommodations, the meals and the ways of getting around. I imagine taxi’s are not cheap over there,” she said. “I’d like to take someone along with me, because I am taking my other boy out of school at the time when it does happen.”
Darnell is a kid who enjoys playing archery at his school – a place where he feels comfortable and unjudged by his peers. Mercredi said in his school nobody looks at Darnell funny and no one criticizes him.
“This kid has a very beautiful soul and if anybody were to sit down and have a conversation with him, you’d never see that disability,” she said. “Just by having a conversation and being around him, it’s like his [visible facial] disability is not even there.”
Mercredi wishes people would see Darnell who he truly is and hopes with the success of the reconstructive surgery the stares will finally end.
“[Darnell] just wants a normal life and to look normal,” she said. “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know. I’m going to have to cross my fingers, I guess.”
Mercredi reached out to her home community of James Smith Cree Nation but had no luck as the community’s budget is tight. She hopes to obtain resources through the Jordan’s Principle which is a federal legislation to support essential health services to Indigenous children. If that plan falls through, Mercredi has no other ways of coming up with the funds and would hate to reschedule his needed surgery due to lack of funds.