Updated: Mar 6, 2020
When Victoria DiGiovanni was born she weighed as much as a baseball.
She came into the world on July 4, 1995 at 25 weeks gestation. Three months later on October 9, 1995 (Thanksgiving Day), Victoria experienced what would be the first of many graduation days to come.
Victoria @SinaiHealth, Toronto, ON - NICU, 1995
Last week, this remarkable young woman donned the cap and gown again, albeit a bigger set, when she graduated from McMaster University earning a Masters of Occupational Therapy.
Victoria @McMasterU University, Hamilton, ON - 2019
Like the photo wall behind her states, Victoria is committed to creating a brighter world. She is currently working as an OT @ Saint Elizabeth Health Care (SE Health) Pediatric School Healthhelping kids like herself get the support they need to succeed.
Victoria is truly a unicorn in a world full of horses as she bravely taps into her own preemie perspective to help clients and preemie families thrive. Recently, she shared her struggles with #anxiety resulting from her premature birth at the Life with a Preterm Baby Symposium.
Take a look at this powerful and honest clip from her talk.
As an audience member and preemie parent myself, her honest take on her own #mentalhealthexperience was both familiar and eye opening for me. She bravely shared her perspective and gave me a better understanding of how my own preemie navigates the world.
The CPBF has been giving preemie families opportunities to connect and provide peer support for many years now. Usually those moments are shared between parents online and IRL. But on this day, as I watched Victoria courageously tell her truth, I was given a glimpse into my own daughter’s mind. My kid is not old enough to articulate why, how or what her anxiety feels like but Victoria could. It was a profoundly powerful gift for me and all the other parents in the audience to receive.
And speaking about receiving powerful gifts, Victoria was the recipient of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation Bursary in 2017. Getting the bursary just prior to starting herMasters of Occupational Therapy significantly helped with her tuition fees.
“It was such a wonderful and relieving feeling. I know that I was able to engage in my studies in part due to the CPBF - It was a stepping stone that empowered me in knowing that my presence, my purpose, and my perseverance are all valuable. It allowed me to start off the program feeling confident and capable, supported by such a strong community of people who understand the impact of prematurity.”
Way to go Victoria, congratulations on hitting out of the park! We are all so proud of all your magical milestones!