Torrie Schaffer is ready to share her story of perseverance as the 2020 Saskatchewan ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network champions program.
It was announced on the birthday of the 13-year-old Balcarres girl that she will be this year’s “Champion Child,” which honours kids who have triumphed despite severe medical challenges.
“(It’s) amazing and heartwarming because I get to represent the sick children that are in hospital,” Schaffer said on Friday.
“No matter what. Everything will be OK and that like everyone will take care of you there,” she said to kids in hospital.
At nine-years-old, Schaffer was diagnosed with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, which can be fatal if not treated right away.
“I was scared because I didn’t know what was happening at the time,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer’s rare blood disease was treated with apheresis machine, which was purchased just six months before her diagnosis with funding from Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.
To keep her health in check, Schaffer visits Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital every two to three months to see a pediatric hematologist.
“If my platelets are low, then I will bruise easily and bleed under the skin,” Schaffer said.
“I do feel uncomfortable, especially because like I have my brother and sometimes he’ll like punch me and kick me because he thinks he’s a ninja. And sometimes I know where those bruises are from, the other times it’s just like I ran into something. So it does scare me sometimes.
“We just live day-by-day and see what tomorrow brings.”
Schaffer will travel to events across North America, sharing her story and representing the province’s sick and injured children.
“It’s a rare blood disease, so no one really knows about it. So I want to raise more awareness about it. So I’m happy that I’m the Champion Child to do that so I can raise the awareness,” Schaffer said.
She takes over as ambassador from Saskatoon’s Blake Wheeler, 13, who was born severely premature and spent 110 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.