Milton and Anne-Marie and their son Lucas

Lucas Tanswell’s Story

December 21, 2018

21 December, 2018



| By: Par:

Anne-Marie MacKenzie

On June 21, 2018, 2 1/2 month old Lucas Tanswell arrived to Kingston General Hospital with heart failure. Learn about his journey from his parents Milton and Anne-Marie.

I awoke at 4 A.M. to my infant son fussing as normal. He wouldn’t nurse and was hard to console. We kept him calm for the morning trying to figure out what was wrong. He was healthy, developing well, happy.
On the morning of June 20 our seemingly healthy 2 1/2 month old son Lucas was in heart failure. The events that followed truly saved his life.
After visiting our family doctor we were sent to Urgent Care then taken by ambulance to Kingston General Hospital and afterwards airlifted to SickKids.
Lucas was stabilized in Kingston and the team originally informed us that we were going to Ottawa. About an hour before we were set to leave I was told we were now going to be going to Toronto as they could better suit his needs.
Lucas was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. It was imperative that he make it to SickKids to undergo treatment, care and potentially a heart transplant in the cardiology department there.
It took a few days for everything to settle in but when I look back on the events of that day I know how important the care of hospital staff and paramedics truly saved his life.
While Lucas is still a patient at sick kids today and we are now one month into our journey he is preparing to be an outpatient and join his family at Ronald Mcdonald House. My husband and I know that getting to sick kids was the most important step in our journey. That helicopter ride will never be forgotten and the gentlemen who looked after my boy. Their continuous, watchful care kept him stable so he could arrive safely that night. They were kind and considerate offering explanations and information as the flight went on.
His Flyin Lion, given to me as we exited the helicopter on the roof of SickKids as a momento, has not left his side and we look at it as his good luck charm. I often drape it beside his head as he sleeps to comfort him, especially those nights in Critical Care when we couldn’t be beside him.
While Lucas can’t be “cured” he is stable and functioning well with the plan put in action by the team at SickKids. We are hopeful he will avoid the transplant list but for now we will enjoy our time together as a family in Toronto.
Ornge, you were a crucial step in saving Lucas’ life. We will never ever forget this and we are thankful that we live in a place where having the proper care isn’t a privilege, it is a right.
I used to be sad when I saw that orange helicopter in flight but now I look at it with gratitude and hope.

Thanks to #teamOrnge and teams at Kingston General Hospital and SickKids in Toronto, Lucas' parents are able to share his journey with us. Watch the video above (by clicking play on the header image), or view it on vimeo.


Charles Trickey ACP(f)
In many cases we are unable to hear how a particular patient does due to protection of patient information, but I am very happy to hear that Lucas is doing well. I know it was one step in a long journey, but I am happy to have been a part of it.
12/30/2018 7:59:30 AM
Jacquie Lowes
The average Ontario resident is unaware of the importance of Orange helicopter care/transportation. Viewing this video of Lucas and his parents is really an eye opener.
I too am thankful beyond words for the care Lucas has received and is currently receiving at Sick Kids. I am happy to know that even my small donations have been of some help to those who desperately need the extreme healthcare. Thank you to everyone for your dedication, and commitment. We are all truly blessed and for this I for one thank you.
12/23/2018 2:50:28 PM
Patricia Lamb MSN, RN
I am thankful for such caring, compassionate, and dedicated health care professionals and family members in Lucas’s life. Thank you Anne-Marie for providing this detailed story.
12/23/2018 9:25:47 AM
In previous years before officially Ornge, Bandage One days, when my 3 week old son had to be flown to sick kids, the medical team, gave me a polaroid picture of him in the covered bed he was traveling in. What I do remember is what was said, "here is something to remember him by". My son did survive, but did get another Orange flight in 2015, where he was saved again.
12/22/2018 9:55:48 AM
Susan MacKenzie
Thank you Ornge paramedics, ground staff and pilots!!! I and our family are forever grateful!! Grandma MacKenzie xoxo
12/21/2018 10:39:03 PM
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