A critically sick child can be the worst nightmare for a parent.
Jayme and Lucas Ford faced this with the birth of Hudson, their second son, in April 2013.
He was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare condition where the left ventricle is severely underdeveloped.
Hudson spent the first eight weeks of his life at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
He underwent heart surgery at 14 days old and at four-and-a-half months he had a second operation. He will require a third when he is three years old.
But instead of dwelling on the difficulty of the situation, the Fords are turning their attention to the hospital and how well they were treated there.
They now want to pay it forward and will be hosting a fundraiser on June 7 — 53 weeks after Hudson came home — through Lucas’s tattoo parlour, Classic Tattoo, located at 4804 Gaetz Ave. in Red Deer. All proceeds will go to the Stollery.
“We had such a good experience there, we wanted to be able to raise some money for them because it is such an awesome hospital for all the little kids,” said Jayme, 30, noting Hudson is now healthy and happy.
Classic Tattoo, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will open at 10 a.m. with the goal of raising $15,000 for the Stollery.
They will be doing this in several ways. They will be bringing in several top guest artists from across Canada for the day to help tattoo as many people in the day as possible. There will be a selection of tattoos ranging from $150-$300 to choose from to streamline the process. There are no reservations for the day and people will be inked up on a first-come, first-served basis.
“You can still do pretty cool stuff in a short amount of time,” said Lucas. “We’ve fortunately got a lot of Canada’s best tattooers coming through to help us out, we’ve got kind of the cream of the crop coming out.”
Children or those not wanting to make a permanent addition to their body art will also be able to get temporary tattoos.
All tattoos will have a set price list and all additional donations will be accepted.
Meanwhile, food trucks will be around in the afternoon to help feed customers and some will be donating a portion of their proceeds.
Throughout the day, there will also be live music, featuring local band Old Boots, to keep people entertained as they wait for their turn.
Jayme, who is a professional photographer and owner of The Paper Deer Photography, will also be raffling off a family portrait shoot and there will be a silent auction.
The Fords have already contributed back once, sponsoring the family of another sick child while he was at the hospital so they could stay near him while in Edmonton. But they felt they could do more.
“It’s a pretty big thing to receive to not have to out of pocket any of that stuff, so it’s important to give back if you can,” said Lucas, 36.