It’s not often that a three-year-old gets 100 people out to his birthday party. But when your name is Khayden Otter-Rupert and just making another birthday is an inspiration, people pay attention.
The turnout at the party at Hotel du Fort in Montreal May 23 was more than expected, admitted Khayden’s grandfather, Ronnie Otter. “It was very good; we didn’t know there would be that many people,” Otter said. “He passed another milestone with his birthday.”
Khayden has been fighting an uphill battle to resume his life.
On February 8, Khayden was found unconscious in his foster parents’ home in Waswanipi. He was rushed to the hospital and has not been home since.
Trevor Eric Spencer, who was living with Khayden’s stepmother, was charged with aggravated assault. He is being held in Amos pending trial and a psychiatric evaluation.
The resulting emotional and financial support the family has received from all nine Cree communities has helped the family tremendously, and has brought the people of Eeyou Istchee together in a time of need.
The celebration started off with some words from Ronnie and a prayer from a Cree elder. Those who attended couldn’t wait to dig into the geese supplied by families who had a successful goose break.
Ronnie wanted to thank the Happyjack family who helped in a big way by cooking many of the 22 geese. He said they wouldn’t have been able to make the deadline without their help.
The last few weeks have been hard on the Otter and Rupert families. On May 12, Khayden’s skull was reattached. This represented a key part in his rehabilitation. Once his head is strong enough, he’ll be able to recover much quicker.
A few days after the surgery, the family noticed that Khayden had become lighter. He was losing weight because he couldn’t eat without vomiting. He had also stopped physiotherapy due to the fragile state of his skull.
As he recovers he’s becoming more inquisitive and curious. His mother Judy said that he’s always asking questions and wondering who people are. “He didn’t stop talking about his birthday party,” she said.
He was especially excited because this was one of the few times in the past three months that he’s been able to leave the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
As he built up his strength, Khayden went a little bit further away from the hospital On May 29 he traveled to the pow wow in Ottawa with his mother. Donations were made to aid the family and a ceremonial healing circle was performed in Khayden’s honour. All seemed to be going well.
Up until that point he had been able to digest soft foods like porridge without throwing up, but at the pow wow, that changed. His appetite was non-existent and when he did eat he would vomit.
Upon arrival at the Children’s Hospital, Khayden was immediately fed intravenously. He also underwent x-rays that revealed a large amount of fluids in his head. A tube was inserted to drain the liquid.
Khayden is slated to leave the Children’s June 7. From there, he’ll be transferred to Marie Enfant rehabilitation centre for children in the east end of Montreal.