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My name is Michael Mayville, and I live in Toronto with my wife, Nicole. We are the proud parents of two children: Vance, our 8-year-old son and Miller, our 5-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in November of 2020. Miller is under the amazing care of the Pediatric PH Team at Sick Kids’ Hospital in Toronto.

PHA Canada: How have you been getting ready for the back-to-school season?

Michael Mayville:
Back-to-school is an exciting time in our household, and our kids are especially excited by the prospect of returning to the classroom for this school year. It is truly remarkable to see how children blossom when they are around other children, and it is a marvel to watch the changes in their enthusiasm for learning when they can be together with their friends. We were uncertain about returning to the classroom, although we received lots of help from PHA Canada and our team at Sick Kids Hospital. We put together a school package for Miller’s teacher and principal using the materials and templates that PHA Canada posts on its website. We also consulted with Janette Reyes, Nurse Practitioner at Sick Kids, to understand the precautions we should be taking. COVID-19 has presented challenges for parents everywhere, and PHA Canada and Sick Kids have been helpful with their safety advice and their support of getting children ready for the classrooms.

PHA Canada:  Being a parent of a child with PH is demanding, and self-care is essential. How do you recharge and decompress?

Michael Mayville:
Like most households with children, we are active most days whether we are ready for it or not.  To maintain a balanced mental health, we have been getting outside as much as possible.  We try to take advantage of good weather, which usually means a family bike ride or a walk around the neighbourhood.  Our favourite family outing is to take a short drive to a point along the Bruce Trail and go for a nature walk.  We take our time following the paths, and the kids love discovering frogs, toads, salamanders, and anything else that they can find.  Strolling, being close to the ground and having quick hands seem to be the secret of a successful creature hunt.

We also have begun a little gratitude game that our neighbours recently introduced to our family, called “rose, rose, thorn, bud.”  We can play while on walks, in the car, or just before bedtime. Each family member takes turns describing two highlights of the day (roses), something that caused grief or stress (thorn), and something that they are looking forward to (bud).  It only takes a couple of minutes to play with four family members, but it is a time for all of us to be together, listen to each other and express how we are doing.


Contribued by Michael Mayville, November 2021.