By Emily Jaycox
For the Stettler Independent
Multiple fundraisers in the Stettler area are organized in support of Jamie and Josh Harden of Big Valley, and their two-year-old daughter Sadie, who is currently at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, being treated for E. coli.
A Facebook auction was held over the weekend raising about $74,000. Money was also sent and three other fundraisers held, bringing the total now to $81,000. A barrel racing event will be next Saturday, and there is a cash donation box is at Diamond N Western World clothing store, located south of Stettler.
“It is amazing how the community has come together,” said Jamie Harden, Sadie’s mother, adding that they are grateful to the rodeo community as well.
“It’s a tight-knit family that takes care of each other when times are tough.
“The amount of people who have prayed for her and sent well wishes … she’s gotten unbelievably better since then.”
Sadie contracted a more serious strain of E. coli and has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a set of severe symptoms resulting in kidney failure, according to Harden.
She is currently being treated with dialysis and as of Sept. 14, had received five blood transfusions and a platelet transfusion.
Her platelet count was still low, and it is possible she will require another one, says Harden.
According to Myhealth.alberta.ca, E. coli is a bacterium that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. It is usually not serious but is more harmful to young children and seniors.
Sadie turned two on Aug. 31 this year.
It was on Monday, Sept. 3, that Sadie first showed symptoms, with some diarrhea.
Harden spoke with Health Link, and took Sadie to the family’s doctor on Wednesday.
Their doctor sent them to the ER.
They were given some anti-nausea medicine and sent home.
After a bath, Sadie was still very lethargic and not herself, so her mother took her back to the ER Thursday, and was given an antibiotic.
Harden says that was not the right treatment, as doctors did not yet suspect E. Coli, and the antibiotics progressed Sadie’s condition.
On Friday, the Harden’s family doctor met them at the ER and started Sadie on an IV. A stool sample confirmed E. coli.
Arrangements were then made for Sadie to be sent to the Stollery.
When they reached the hospital at 9:30 p.m., a team of medical professionals were waiting for them.
“What he did saved her life,” said Harden, of their family doctor, who she didn’t think would want to be named.
“He knew she wasn’t well.”
Harden says the family’s doctor has kept in touch to keep apprised of Sadie’s condition.
At this point, it isn’t possible to say whether Sadie will stay at the hospital for days or weeks, says Harden.
It’s just a matter of waiting to see if, or when, her kidneys start working again, she says.
In the worst-case scenario, she would need a kidney transplant.
More than focusing on Sadie’s condition, Harden wanted to emphasize awareness of E. Coli and the work the Children’s Stollery Hospital does.
Sadie is being monitored constantly. A nurse sits with at all times and her doctors check in often, says Harden.
“They’ve been so amazing and thorough,” said Harden.
Harden has spoken with Alberta Health, going over Sadie’s activities and what she ate prior to her becoming sick, but there really is no way to pinpoint exactly how she contracted the bacteria.
Currently, the family is dealing with costs for meals and travel.
Future expenses depend on how Sadie progresses and if she winds up needing long-term care.
Costs could include extended accommodations and further travel for family members, blood pressure medication if Sadie requires it, or the cost of a certain diet if she does go into renal failure.
Organizers of the auction, barrel race and donation box have all wished to remain anonymous, and consist of family, friends and community members.
The Facebook page is called “Harden Family Benefit Auction.”
People put up items for auction, from makeup kits, riding accessories to essential oil packages, and left their well-wishes for Sadie as well. In addition, two horses were donated, an entire day of cat work, lots of bales of hay and fencing materials.
The auction was open until Sept. 16.
The auction has also issued a blood donation challenge.
A barrel racing event is being held on Sept. 22 at the Stettler indoor arena, with proceeds going to the Harden family.
There will be a Pee Wee and an open barrel racing event, starting at 1 p.m.
The building will be open to spectators.
Entries will open on Sept. 20.
The Facebook page is “Harden Family Benefit Barrel Race.”
Half of the entry fees will go to the Harden family, the other half to the winner’s pot.
In the event that funds raised for the Harden family are more than their needs require, Harden says they plan on donating the remaining amount to the Stollery hospital and the Stettler hospital.