We got to know Leslie and her daughter Amélie after reaching out when we saw the most adorable video of them dancing together on Instagram, CLICK HERE to see the reel. We felt a connection with Leslie right away with her contagious, joyful personality and have loved getting to know her beautiful family over the last few months. Leslie is a Mother to three, a Blogger, and has spent the last year as a Child Safety Advocate after her 2-year-old daughter ingested a lithium coin battery.
On April 9th, 2020 Amélie, who was 18 months old, collapsed on the kitchen floor in front of Leslie. At first Leslie thought she was joking, but quickly realized she needed immediate help.
Within seconds blood started to gush from her nose, and Leslie frantically ran out of her house to seek help from her neighbours. They were transferred to the Regional Hospital in Red Deer, where Amélie would be intubated and later taken to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton by ambulance. Within fifteen minutes after arriving at The Stollery Children’s Hospital, Amélie went into cardiac arrest twice. She would undergo an emergency open-heart surgery, be placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, and her esophagus, trachea, aorta, and carotid left artery would require extensive repair. Amélie required four litres of blood, suffered a stroke, and had bleeding outside of the brain.
The cause: a lithium coin battery.
After 37 days spent at the Stollery Hospital, Amélie was ready to go home.
Leslie struggled tremendously with the feelings of guilt, she questioned not only her value, but her ability to be a mother. However, she felt a nudge in her heart that their story needed to be shared to save other children from the same fate, or worse.
Leslie has been working endlessly sharing Amélie’s story on her social media accounts (@lesliebangamba on Instagram), through blog posts, and a recent article with Duracell. Their story is now officially on the Duracell website, sharing the important tips to keep children safe.
Amélie’s journey is far from over, she is now primarily fed via a gastrointestinal tube (tube that brings nutrition directly to her stomach) until she learns to swallow safely again. Regular follow-ups with the Stollery Children’s Hospital and ongoing Occupational Therapy are now a part of her everyday life.
Leslie is a true example of finding purpose after trauma and we are so honoured to be able to share her family’s story to educate our community on the important message Leslie must share. You can follow Leslie and Amélie’s story on Instagram @lesliebangamba and help her spread the message so no other child has to go through this horrible injury.
In honor of this little warrior, we have named a new scrunchie after sweet Amélie to always remind ourselves of the bravery, triumph, and joy she brings into the world.
Her trauma will bring purpose to many, and her joy will truly fill you up in more ways than one! Our hope is that when someone compliments your gorgeous new scrunchie you can share the story of Amélie and the importance of battery safety.
Thank you, Leslie, for allowing us to share your story to our community. We are so fortunate for this platform allowing us to connect with amazing momma’s and look forward to continuing to watch you make an impact in the world.
The Onyx+Ivy Team