On December 10, 2014 our lives changed forever. That day my eight year old daughter Tandra and I were in a terrible car crash. Tandra suffered a fractured clavicle, damage to her right leg, lacerations to her head, a ruptured ear drum, and a traumatic brain injury.

I can’t begin to tell you how horrifying it is to witness your own child in distress with serious, life-threatening injuries and be unable to help.

TandraTandra’s right leg was pinned by the door and she was trapped inside the car. Fortunately, the amazing response team from Perth immediately went to work to free her from the wreckage and then rushed her to the local hospital. As soon as Tandra’s condition stabilized we were transferred to CHEO – a place that was already familiar to us and where we had often found comfort in uncertain times. I have seen the great work at CHEO firsthand and this is why I feel compelled to ask you to make a donation today. 

Tandra has been a patient at CHEO her entire life. She was born 16 weeks prematurely so the hospital has become our home away from home. When she weighed only two pounds she underwent her first surgery to repair a damaged valve in her tiny heart. As a baby she was classified as legally blind and had multiple laser eye surgeries. Tandra has dealt with many challenges in her short life but she has a winning attitude.

I know that miracles can happen at CHEO because Tandra is one of them. 

Over the years my daughter has battled and beaten the odds many times. Her limited vision posed many challenges but with every eye appointment we learned that her eyesight was improving! Tandra is my real life superhero.

Her father Chris and I were once told that she would never be able to walk or talk but with help from CHEO and sheer determination, she learned to walk, talk, dance and so much more! Tandra adores animals – they are her passion in life. Prior to the crash, she made one of her dreams come true by learning to ride horses. Nothing gave her more pride, comfort and absolute joy. Sadly, as a result of her recent brain injury Tandra is now unable to ride her horses because her balance has been drastically affected.

But, the amazing thing about superheroes is they defy the odds. Just as she did as an infant, we are hopeful that Tandra will surprise everyone and do it again!

Your donor dollars really do make a difference. It’s a line you have no doubt heard before but for nine years I have seen CHEO grow, change and adapt to meet its patients’ needs.

I feel like we have been in every department at CHEO so I can tell you with certainty that your support is felt all over the hospital. We will continue to experience the impact of your generosity because our story isn’t over. That’s the thing about an accident. You don’t see it coming and it changes your life forever.

Tandra was always a happy-go-lucky child but now she suffers from frequent headaches, dizziness and extreme fatigue. She is more easily frustrated and she misses dancing and special moments with her horses.

But I remain hopeful. Tandra defied the odds before and Tandra2I know how tough she is. Because of donors like you, she has a super team at CHEO helping her every step of the way. I hope Tandra may inspire you to give. You never know when you will need the wonderful people at that hospital. 

Thank you for taking the time to share in our family story. There are so many other patients at CHEO that need you too. Without CHEO, I don’t know where we would be today.

With gratitude,


Valerie Goyette