leslie bangamba wearing smash + tess friday romper


A dream come true for dreamwear!


Historically, our blog has been a place to celebrate our favourite influencers and celebrities, announce new collections and give a behind the scenes look. But this doesn’t mean that we don’t have a special place in our hearts for sharing customer stories!  

Not only do we want to celebrate our amazing community and share more about our brand, but we also want to use our blog to share topics with our #smashtessfam that raise awareness and show support for issues that matter to you.

Our customer Leslie Bangamba (@lesliebangamba) reached out to us and told us about her daughter Amélie. On April 9, 2020, Leslie went through one of the scariest moments of her life. Leslie is now on a mission to share her knowledge and story so other parents don’t have to go through the same terrifying ordeal. As a trio of mamas at S+T, we knew we had to help amplify this message.

leslie bangamba wearing smash + tess friday romper

Please tell us about your daughter

My daughter Amélie is an energetic, curious, and sassy munchkin who loves to dance to ANYTHING as long as there is a good beat. She is swaying her hips! She's the only girl amongst her siblings, so she is very assertive with her brothers and it's hilarious to witness. 

Please tell us about the event that happened on April 9, 2020

On April 9th, 2020, as I was loading my dishwasher and watching Amélie play on the kitchen floor she suddenly collapsed. At first, I thought she was joking but when I proceeded to pick her up. Her body felt stiff and her eyes were rolling to the back of her head, seconds later blood proceeded to pour profusely from her nose. 

A frantic plea for help to my neighbours, a 911 call, led to a trip to our local Red Deer Hospital ER. I would discover after an X-ray that a foreign object was lodged in her esophagus and wreaking havoc on her tiny body. This object was a button battery.

She vomited a large quantity of blood and was intubated so she could be transported to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. Upon arrival, she went into cardiac arrest twice and the doctors were, fortunately, able to resuscitate her but with a very weak pulse. 

She was placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine (aka heart-lung machine) and required 4.2 litres of blood transfused just in the operating room alone. When the surgery was complete, we learned this button battery caused a rupture of her esophagus, trachea, aorta, and carotid left artery. 

The rupture of the carotid left artery would cause her to suffer a stroke on the left side of her brain, subdural bleeding on the right side of her brain, and last but not least she would be placed on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). 

April 11th she would come off ECMO (basically in short ECMO is life support), and would stay in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, then transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. On April 19th she would be transferred to pediatric in-patient to undergo intensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy since she had to learn how to walk again, and how to move the right side of her body as it was affected by the stroke.

On May 15th, 2020 she was finally discharged from the Stollery Children's Hospital!  

leslie bangamba wearing smash + tess sweetheart romper

Please tell us what you have gone through since then.

Since then our world has changed drastically! Amélie is now fed primarily via a gastrointestinal tube as she has to learn how to swallow safely. She has had two surgeries post-discharge to address the narrowing in her esophagus. Our lives are now filled with multiple medical follow-up visits to ensure her recovery progresses positively. 

What would you like our readers to be aware of when it comes to button batteries?

I would like your readers to be aware of the fatal dangers these batteries pose. While she was hospitalized the physicians kept mentioning how "Button Battery Injuries" were on the rise and that more needed to be done to address how dangerous they are. I think people typically think (through no fault of their own) that they will pass like a coin, but that is not the case. 

They are small and shiny (perfect attraction to a little one) and once ingested the mixture of the saliva and acid creates a fatal effect. The battery was burning her tissue and blood vessels, hence the ruptures.

leslie bangamba wearing smash + tess friday romper

What are button batteries commonly found in? 

Button batteries can be found in many different things, but some of the most common are:

  • Remote Controls i.e Apple TV
  • Thermometers
  • Games & Toys
  • Hearing Aids
  • Calculators
  • Bathroom Scales
  • Key Fobs
  • Electronic Jewelry
  • Cameras
  • Holiday Ornaments

What drew you to Smash + Tess and resonates with you?

What I love about Smash + Tess is their size inclusivity (they were doing this before it was trendy), and how inclusive S + T is with their models, and of course how AH-MAZINGLY comfortable and versatile all your rompers are! While Amélie was hospitalized I would rotate between my black Friday Romper and Sunday Romper! It was truly a piece of home with me in unfamiliar settings. 

leslie bangamba wearing smash + tess sweetheart romper

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for providing me with the platform to reach your amazing tribe of parents to help prevent such an incident from ever occurring to another child! Awareness is key to prevention and I implore anyone who cares for young children to ensure they know where items that utilize button batteries are stored in their home, to ensure they are properly secured, and to properly dispose of button batteries when no longer in use as they still possess sufficient current that can be fatal even when no longer in active use. 

If you would like to donate to Amelie’s birthday fundraiser as part of Stollery Superstars please follow this link. The donation will go towards the hospital that helped Amelie and her family.

By Smash+Tess

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Comment (1)
  • Tracy - Mar 15, 2023

    Wow! How terrifying that must have been. Thank God you were able to get you daughter help in time. It sounds like there’s still a tough road ahead, but it sounds like Amélie has the right mom for the job. I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your experience.

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