Henrick Hamelin had to be airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital in the Lower Mainland after he fell and broke a femur. (Photo contributed)

Support sought for Salmon Arm toddler with Brittle Bone Disease

Falls resulting in broken femur, tibia lead family to concerning diagnosis

While falling down can be upsetting for a toddler, when two-year-old Henrick Hamelin has a spill it’s a concern for his parents.

In September, Henrick was diagnosed with Type 1 Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, where the body isn’t producing enough collagen resulting in fragile bones. Children with Type 1 are subject to bone fractures from mild traumas such as falling.

Henrick suffered his first break, a femur bone, in February. He was taken to hospital in Salmon Arm and was airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital for treatment.

In July, Henrick had another fall and suffered another break, this time a tibia. He was treated at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

After the second break, parents Chelsea and Keelan Hamelin turned to Google to find out what could be going on.

“His falls were just from walking, he didn’t fall off anything, he wasn’t doing anything crazy, so we were concerned something could have been wrong,” explained Chelsea.

During their research, the Salmon Arm couple heard about a child that had Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), so they looked it up and brought what they found to their doctor. Soon after they were referred to a specialist, testing was done and they had a diagnosis for Henrick by September.

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“We’ve become helicopter parents for sure because you kind of have to be,” said Chelsea. “We’ve made adjustments around our home to minimize the risk to falls. My kids are falling all the time so it’s been really hard and there’s always a sense of panic whenever he falls and hurts himself.”

The couple are awaiting a meeting with BC Children’s Hospital for a treatment plan, and in the meantime have found help from a private doctor in functional medicine with experience treating OI. They also have a December appointment at BC Children’s Hospital to discuss dental work needed for Henrick – dental cracks and cavities can be an issue for people with Type 1 OI.

Seeing what her brother and sister-in-law are going through, with Chelsea on maternity leave with three children and Keelan working nights at the Canoe mill, Lindsay Hamelin set up a GoFundMe account for the family to try and raise some financial support.

“It’s all adding up and Chelsea is at home with all three of them, and my brother is looking at getting a second job,” said Lindsay. “He already works nights and they’ve got their hands full.”

The GoFundMe page, Medical Care for Henrick, was set up on Tuesday, Nov. 5. As of Thursday, it was at $2,600 of its initial $5,000 goal.

Chelsea said she and Keelan are overwhelmed by the love and support received.

“You want to do everything you can for your kids, and we were just pushing it and pushing it and they wanted to help us so we weren’t so stressed out about wanting to help our kid,” said Chelsea. “It’s been pretty emotional, but in a good way… “We hadn’t really told people what was going and now everyone obviously knows, and people are reaching out and just giving their support, and it is really nice to feel that love from people from afar and people saying, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know,’ and ‘I’m sorry you’re going through this.’ It’s been really nice and we’ve been feeling the love a lot.”

The GoFundMe is to help the Hamelins with medical costs, and Lindsay says every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated.


@SalmonArm
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A second fall for Henrick resulted in a broken tibia. This led his parents Chelsea and Keelan and their doctor to a diagnosis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease. (Photo contributed)

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