Deshae’s story.

Imagine having an energetic, engaging and enthusiastic  11-year-old daughter with her whole life ahead of her. Suddenly…unexpectedly…that vibrant young girl acquires a traumatic brain injury, leaving her unable to speak, walk and no longer able to recognize her family — for the rest of her life.

This is Deshae’s story.

It was an experience that Deshae’s mother, Denise, described as “a shock to the family and a shock to our world.” This new path meant the start of a long and traumatic journey as Deshae’s family came to understand what the future would look like. After spending six months in hospital, Deshae moved from SickKids to Holland Bloorview and finally, settling into Safehaven where she has since lived for four years. Safehaven was the light at the end of the tunnel.

“One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent was hand my child over to people I didn’t know. I would visit residential facilities and leave in tears – until I found Safehaven. The children were smiling, some laughing – I wanted to see Deshae smile like that,” Denise shared. “From the beginning, Safehaven has been so accommodating and provided comfort from the moment Deshae moved in. Safehaven has been a home away from home.”

Children like Deshae often experience many transitions when living with complex care needs. This is why Safehaven is so committed to working with acute care partners like SickKids and Holland Bloorview, making every transition a seamless one. 

The staff at Safehaven has become part of Deshae’s family, making sure she is in a safe, supportive and loving environment each and every day. And when Denise arrives at Safehaven, they take a step back so she can care for her child, just as if they were at home together.

Denise’s ultimate goal is to bring Deshae home permanently, but there are so many challenges to overcome such as accessibility requirements and home renovations. Navigating the system and tapping into the right funding to support Deshae’s needs is difficult, but Denise and her family aren’t in it alone. 

Safehaven is always here to provide advice and guidance, answer any questions and ensure that every exceptional individual and their family members receive the support needed to live happy and healthy lives. After all, that is what every exceptional person deserves.