Stephanie HubbardSocial Worker, Volunteer - Parkwood National Historic Site
Stephanie's Story :
When I was growing up, I wasn’t quite sure what my future was going to look like. As an infant I was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus. I was readmitted to the hospital at 7 days of age
as I was very ill and had trouble breathing. I was put on inhalation treatment for months and was eventually changed over to inhalers. This virus caused long term permanent damage to my lungs
and I now suffer from Asthma. At age 9 months I was also diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss, and struggled to achieve childhood milestones in a timely manner. My parents were told that
they should prepare themselves and learn sign language.
From 11 months old to 10 years old I underwent 10 surgeries. During those ten surgeries I had 9 sets of tubes inserted, and my tonsils and adenoids taken out. I also had severe asthma and was
taken to the hospital numerous times for dangerously high fevers and asthma attacks. At age 9 I was also diagnosed with a peanut allergy after eating some chocolate at Halloween.
I was always behind in school because I was so sick and had a hard time hearing my teachers and classmates. I don’t remember much about my childhood other than being at the hospital, going to an audiologist appointments, getting speech therapy, and seeing my weekly tutor. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say “healthy.”
It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. In grade six my family started fostering two girls and it changed my life forever. Social workers kept coming into the house to do house inspections, check-ins, monthly meetings, etc. It finally hit me that I could help others and make a living doing it, I wanted to become a social worker. I started doing my homework as soon as I got home from school, and I spent numerous hours studying and trying to understanding what I was learning in class. I was so behind in school I needed private tutors to catch up with my friends. By grade eight my hearing tests came back normal and I was told that I didn’t need hearing aids in high school. I still struggled with asthma and was limited in outdoor activities.
Throughout high school I was on the honour roll every year, and received an Entrance Scholarship at King’s University College. I have always spent my spare time volunteering with children or helping out at Parkwood National Historic Site. I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and am now a registered Social Worker. I am currently working at a local college where I provide counselling to post-secondary students, however, I am hoping to get a Masters of Social Work and a certificate in Play Therapy in the future. My dream job would be working at a children’s hospital or rehabilitation centre, as I can personally understand how scary hospitals can be from a child’s perspective. The nurses, doctors and child life workers I encountered have left lasting impressions on me and I hope to give back to other children who are struggling with their own health challenges.