Six-year-old Meghan Topjian had not been feeling well for several days and had been diagnosed with a bladder infection. In the midst of a family move from Red Deer to Brooks she awoke one night calling for her mother and complaining of pounding in her head. Her mother gave her some medication for a headache and comforted the young girl until she fell back asleep.

The next morning Meghan’s sister came running out of the room they shared, crying and screaming that “Meghan had no face”. Her mother discovered Meghan with a severely swollen and distorted face and neck and rushed her to the hospital in Brooks.

Emergency physicians immediately contacted pediatricians in Calgary and together they determined Meghan’s kidney function was very limited and her blood pressure was extremely high. While Brooks staff worked to stabilize her, STARS was called to rush her to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

There Meghan was immediately treated by a team of specialists to support her kidney function and reduce her blood pressure. After two weeks in hospital, numerous tests and eventually a kidney biopsy, Meghan was diagnosed with a rare form of life threatening kidney disease.

Meghan’s experience with STARS took place in October 1990. Today, she is a 28-year-old woman, married and enjoying a career in communications and fund development for a non-profit women’s shelter in Calgary. Meghan still takes medication, monitors her blood pressure, sees a specialist who tracks her status, and is careful with her diet.  Meghan and her family are thankful for STARS and the team of professionals that got Meghan where she needed to be to receive the necessary life saving treatment.

In 1996, after suffering a brain aneurysm, her father was also flown by STARS.  Unfortunately he did not survive, but Meghan is comforted knowing from personal experience that STARS and the rapid transport provided ensured he had access to advanced medical care as quickly as possible.

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