Lovisa McCallum is a supermom. The Toronto-area woman has two sons, a husband, a full-time job and is an extremely active volunteer with Cystic Fibrosis Canada. One wonders how she pulls it off with what looks like effortless ease – but that’s just what supermoms do.
The McCallum family’s relationship with cystic fibrosis began like many others. After giving birth to a beautiful baby boy in 2002, Lovisa and her husband, David, were excited to take their little bundle of joy home.
Still in the hospital, they were told their son, Matthew, had a bowel obstruction – a strong indication of cystic fibrosis.
“We had never heard of cystic fibrosis prior to that day,” she remembers.
Matthew underwent surgery soon after. Two weeks later, he was diagnosed with the disease.
Grief-stricken, Lovisa found strength in her husband.
“He explained to me that I had to get past the grief of the original diagnosis and walk into the hospital each day smiling,” she said. “We hoped the community that cared for our son would see our positive energy and be inspired by it. I couldn’t have done it without David’s steadfast support.”
And so the McCallums’ fight against cystic fibrosis began. The new parents immediately started with Matthew’s treatments to ensure he stayed healthy.
A year and a half after his diagnosis, Lovisa thought it was time to give back to her new community. It was her way of staying connected to the cystic fibrosis cause in Canada, and keeping abreast of Cystic Fibrosis Canada news.
In 2003, Lovisa began volunteering with the Toronto & District Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The McCallums often helped out with chapter events, and Great Strides™, Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s national walk.
“I became part of a broader community which became my family,” Lovisa said. “It’s been extraordinarily helpful to be able to interact with scientists, families and the research community – all of whom have been touched by this illness.”
A year later, she accepted a position as a volunteer Regional Director for Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Central Ontario Region – one she currently holds. As a Regional Director, Lovisa provides an important link between Cystic Fibrosis Canada chapters and Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Board of Directors.
“Volunteering gives me a sense of empowerment,” she said. “My son has a genetic illness that I couldn’t have prevented and that I am not medically capable of fixing. But, I can put my actions where my dreams are and volunteer. I do everything I can to help us get closer to a cure.”
Matthew, now seven, is a vibrant and healthy boy. He enjoys jumping on the trampoline, swimming and camping with his younger brother, Ethan, 5. Ethan does not have cystic fibrosis.
Matthew has big dreams of one day becoming a scientist so he can take matters into his own hands and “fix cystic fibrosis”.
“He’s a wonderful child. Our hope for Matthew is that he becomes a grandfather one day.”
Lovisa intends to keep volunteering with Cystic Fibrosis Canada until a cure or effective control is found.
“This is a lifetime commitment. I will not stop until we reach our goal.”