Dylan and Stephanie Riches underwent two years of fertility treatments before their daughter Maliyah finally joined their family this past July in the midst of the pandemic.
But COVID-19 was the least of their worries. From the moment she arrived, Maliyah faced life-threatening health challenges. Today, thanks to the dedication and care of Sinai Health’s women’s and infants’ health experts, her future couldn’t be brighter.
“We couldn’t be more thankful for the team who cared for Maliyah,” says Dylan.
From the stress of the birth, Maliyah’s heart rate and blood pressure began to spike. To save her life, she was quickly moved to Sinai Health’s Newton Glassman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). There, the team diagnosed her with Chorioamnionitis, Pneumothorax, GBS (Group strep B) along with a gastric ulcer.
Maliyah stayed alive thanks to the hawk-like monitoring and expert care delivered by Mount Sinai’s NICU nurses. She needed a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to breathe, two blood transfusions, and had IVs in every limb and tubes in her nose, mouth and umbilical cord.
After two weeks of round-the-clock intensive care from Mount Sinai’s NICU team, Maliyah was healthy and robust enough to come home.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the incredible team at Mount Sinai Hospital,” says Dylan. “It’s been an incredible experience. It’s payback time.”
In a touching gesture, Dylan and Stephanie said “thank you” to the nurses in Mount Sinai’s NICU, Labour & Delivery Unit and Mother & Baby Unit by delivering gift bags filled with personal care products and treats.
“We wrote and said we had such a great experience and we wanted to give back,” says Dylan. “They saved our family and will continue to save others who visit the 17th floor.”
But they didn’t stop with thank-you gifts. Dylan also planned the inaugural Yonge Street Run to fuel the life-changing care that happens in Mount Sinai’s NICU.
On Saturday, September 12, a team of the family’s supporters ran, jogged and hiked a 60km route covering the entire stretch of the original Yonge Street starting at 21247 Yonge Street in East Gwillimbury and finishing at 1 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto.
As an experienced back-country camper and hiker, Dylan enjoyed the run.
But most of all, he and Stephanie savour the feeling raising an incredible $11,000 in its first year all in support of the team who did so much for their growing family.
“Some of these babies are born so early, and so tiny. When you see a baby in an incubator no bigger than your hand it’s pretty crazy. It’s heartwrenching. We were very lucky.”
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