From the moment I met Xander McFadden, he was moving. A whirlygig. A tornado. An unstoppable force. There were even moments where I recognized myself in moments of Nancy's (his Mom) approach when doing her best to handle this force of mass and energy simply known as Xander. I'd watch her slowly lean down into his height range, try to catch his eye, veins straining just a little in her neck, as she gently asked him to "settle down." I didn't help. I would smile, and high-five the kid. He was my hero. I imagined what it would be like to harness his energy and focus it on a specific task, like cleaning the garage. You'd be done in an hour, and have enough left over to hold the garage sale that very afternoon. He just doesn't stop...or, at least when he does stop, it must only be for sleep, and I'll bet he sleeps really, really well. Gotta recharge those batteries to take on the world full blast the next day. His kindergarten teacher probably requests extra PA days to catch her breath, and at this point he only goes every second day.
He is a force to be reckoned with!
I am so in awe of this guy. I'll tell you my #1 reason: Most people wouldn't have given him half a chance to make it this far.
Xander was born at 25 weeks. His Mom, Nancy, was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (or preeclampsia) - a condition that can strike anytime after 20 weeks. With Nancy, it came at 25 weeks. The earlier in a pregnancy, the greater chance of morbidity.
But you've got to meet this boy! He is a joy to experience. He has a personality as big as the room he's in. People smile just witnessing his presence as he hurries by them. If he moved a little slower, they'd be asking him for pictures and autographs, but there's no time.
Nancy's a fantastic Mom, and I love talk to her. She was on The Biggs Show with me last week, and will join me again on Monday (May 7th) and again on Friday May 18th. You won't want to miss that one, for sure, because she'll be bringing Xander (no doubt tied down to something) and Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who knows both Xander and Nancy rather well. As a matter of fact, Xander's probably a bit of a rock star around Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences. After all, the boy started out in this world at ONE POUND, NINE OUNCES at 25 weeks into Nancy's pregnancy. His eyes, like a kitten's, were still closed. Nancy was there to watch them open for the first time.
Click here to see him when he was a LOT smaller than he is today.
This hospital did everything in their power to bring this boy around, and he's awesome. They fought for him, and he fought hard...and he's living every moment like he really means it. You have to cheer for this kid, and for the awesome job his Mom has done, day in, day out, to make his circumstances the best they can possibly be.
Things could have turned out a lot differently, but no one gave up, not for a moment - especially not Xander...which is why I'm asking for your support for kids just like him, and so many children and parents with their own set of challenges who need the incredible skill and passionate care of Children's Hospital.
Just a little change, from everyone you know, can go a long way to making a difference.
Xander's the best kind of Change Bandit, because he'll steal your change, and steal your heart while doing it.
Please hand over your change for all the Xanders and Nancys, and help keep Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences the pillar of hope and incredible care that Xander and Nancy McFadden KNOW that it is.