Family of young Calgary heart patient makes donation to support other kids in hospital

A Calgary family whose son received life-saving care in hospital is giving back to support other families.

This comes after years of struggle for nine-year-old Lucca Valente.

“Lucca couldn’t play the way other kids could play,” said his mother, Crystal Valente.

“It was difficult for him to even walk to the end of our street.”

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The reason became clear after tests in 2018 showed that Lucca had been born with a rare heart condition.

“From that moment on, Lucca was getting six to 10 needles a day,” Crystal said.

Lucca has vivid memories of the pain involved.

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“It wasn’t very nice,” he said.

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But then the family was offered the use of a device called a Buzzy Bee while Lucca was undergoing bloodwork at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Calgary.

“It is a vibration and you can use it with a cold pack,” ACH’s Sally Baggott said. “You put at the injection site — basically it stops the pain message from going to the brain.”

Lucca was glad to have the use of a Buzzy Bee.

“It’s much easier to get a needle,” he said.

The boy continued to benefit from the device as treatment continued leading up to major heart surgery in 2020 at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

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“We were blessed to have got the treatment that we got to save and treat Lucca,” Crystal said.

And then, just days after the operation, Lucca surprised his parents.

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“Lucca said to us, ‘Dad, Mom, I would like to buy some Buzzy Bees please for the children’s hospital,’” said Joe Valente, Lucca’s father.

The family has now bought four of the devices to donate, with two going to the Stollery and two to the ACH.

“We are so thankful to Lucca and his family for making this wonderful donation,” Baggott said.

Lucca hopes other young patients will enjoy the same benefits the Buzzy Bee has brought him.

“Because that helped me a lot,” Lucca said.

“So I want to give something that can help other kids.”

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