At 16-months-old, Charlie Boudreau was diagnosed with an incurable mitochondrial disease, and spent most of his last months at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
Throughout the time Charlie spent at Children’s, he received care tailored to his needs. The pain and palliative care program was instrumental in helping his team, lead by Dr. Kaci Onsenga, create a treatment plan, and his nurses, Suzie Harvey, Jen Warber, Ginger Pahos, and Kim Paris, were among the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) staff that showed great love and compassion to Charlie and his family.
“When you are buried in all of the crazy emotions surrounding your sick child, it can be daunting to find the good, or to believe anyone understands what you are going through,” said Charlie’s mom, Becky. “But in October of 2011, just a few months after Charlie had passed and approaching our first Christmas without him, I remembered having received a small stocking while in the PICU.”
Inspired by their own experience, Chris and Becky Boudreau started the Stocking Project to deliver stockings stuffed with goodies to patient families at holiday time, knowing what a difference it made during their stay.
"The reason Children’s will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will continue to work to support this amazing organization, is because more than the expert care and kid-friendly touches, more than the vivid paint colors and artwork installations, more than the red wagons and bikes in the hallways, it is the love and extraordinary compassion that we witnessed, on a daily basis, for our son,” said Becky. For the Boudreau’s, through the loss of Charlie, they say that their eyes have been opened to a world that most parents do not have to experience. But as Becky has shared, “Children’s will make whatever daunting journey you are facing with your child a bit easier to navigate.”
Charlie’s family and friends plan to continue sharing his spirit of quiet strength and unflappable courage by supporting other PICU families and continue giving to Children’s annually in memory of Charlie.