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How do you thank someone who saved your child’s life?


In early 2016 Alexis and Johnny were happily anticipating becoming parents. The pregnancy seemed to be going along fine, until what would have typically been the half-way point.

“This was my first pregnancy so I didn’t really have much to compare it to,” remembers Alexis. “I thought everything was going great. Things took a turn after my 20-week anatomy scans when they discovered some issues with both the girls. From then on I was monitored at fetal assessment quite often. Tenley’s growth pretty much stopped at 27 weeks, which is when they decided the girls needed to come out for their best chance at survival.”

In the midst of a brutal snowstorm on April 1, 2016, twin girls Tenley and Emilia were born just minutes apart.

“It was a hectic day deciding whether or not to deliver the girls,” recalls Alexis. “The doctors wanted to try to get me to 30 weeks, then it was 28 weeks, then it was time.  There were obvious advantages in trying to get them to grow a bit more, but the risk was waiting too long and losing one or both of them.”

Both girls made it through delivery and immediately required constant care. The tiny preemies needed specialized machines to help them breathe, eat, keep warm, and pretty much everything else.

“I was scared but I tried my best not to show it because I could tell my family around me was really panicked, except for my husband who was my rock,” says Alexis. “It wasn’t until after the girls were born and I was discharged that I really broke down. The staff at NICU helped my entire family. I was surrounded by brilliant people who help these babies fight every day. Everyone took care of us just as much as they took care of the girls.”

For 98 days the Lazo family called the Children’s Hospital home, which means it will forever have a place in their hearts.

“It takes an amazing team of people, and an incredible hospital to make one feel safe when they are going through such a vulnerable time,” says Alexis. “Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staff ran around busy as ever, and I felt completely safe watching my girls take each breath. I have the utmost respect for Children’s Hospital and the people working there each day.”

Having passed their first birthday the twins are closing the gap in meeting their developmental milestones, and their prognosis is excellent.

“Emilia is wild,” exclaims Alexis, “she keeps everyone on their toes. We call her our little wrecking ball. Tenley is our serious baby. She is an observer and studies everything she comes in contact with. Both girls are crawling, babbling, eating well, and happy! What more could I ask for?”

Alexis was so grateful for the care her family received that she made a ‘Heart Your Hospital – Children’s Hospital Gratitude Program’ nomination. This program allows families a chance to say thank you to a Children’s Hospital staff member who made a difference in their child’s care with a tribute gift in their honour.

“I saw the opportunity online and thought it was a wonderful idea,” explains Alexis. “I saw how hard these men and women work to save the most fragile lives, so I picked three people who had worked with the girls during their stay and sent them each one. I want them to know how grateful I am.”

With bright futures ahead for their amazing daughters, Johnny and Alexis will be certain to let the girls know what remarkable fighters they have been right from the start.

“My husband and I will be very honest with the girls and be sure they know how strong and brave they are,” says Alexis. “They had to fight against all the odds that were put against them, they won, and they deserve to know it. I have brought the girls back to visit the NICU on several occasions, and plan to do so every year around their birthday.”

Little Tenley and Emilia are thriving today, but Alexis can easily recall the long days watching her girls take each breath. It brings her deep gratitude and empathy.

“I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to Dr. Baier for his time spent with Emilia and Tenley. The nurses of IMCN and float nurse Jeremy, Arlene Dibley,  and lastly Dr. Madison for answering my list of questions at every appointment after the girls’ discharge,” says Alexis. “To all the parents and family members currently sitting the endless hours at the NICU, my heart is with you.”

If you want to thank someone at the Children’s Hospital or Research Institute that helped save your child’s life, click here to learn more. The Foundation will deliver a card with your message as well as a pin that they can wear to remember how much you appreciated them.