A brush with death by Sam Iaquinta's son and how his life was saved created a spark that is being paid forward for a second time to help sick children in Alberta.

Today, the ground was broken for the second Homes for Hope project of Castellano Custom Homes on Sunvalley View in the Pinnacle Estates at Sunset Ridge. The first was built in Airdrie during the pandemic.

Emotions still run high for the dad over the events that saw his son treated on a highly specialized machine at the children's hospital. At one point, the youth was transported between Calgary and Edmonton hospitals.

"In our case, we needed a specialist, and we needed specialized equipment. Remarkably, the specialized equipment was in Calgary. They only had two machines; one was used for my son and the other was backup."

"That equipment was donated by a charitable event which saved my son. That was the spark that created Homes for Hope and our goal is to work with these groups and hopefully support all of their efforts in transporting kids to locations they need to be at."

Iaquinta said you can't spend too much time dwelling on the past.

"This Homes for Hope project is all about looking forward," says Iaquinta, one of the partners of Castellano Custom Homes, "And looking forward to helping other children that may need all of our support."

He thanked the many trades and companies who have come together to make it possible, and the support provided by Melcor Developments, who was also involved in the first project.

"Without any reluctance, without any delay, they offered to support us on this lot here in building this home, and we thank Melcor from the bottom of our hearts."

The proceeds will aid both the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation (ACHF) and Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation (SCHF) in providing pediatric critical care transportation between hospitals.

"So, if you have a sick child in Lethbridge that needs to come to Calgary, they will fly them with a jet from Lethbridge to Calgary," explains Iaquinta.

Melanie Sortland, ACHF senior manager of community initiatives and events, says timing is everything in saving the lives of children because their conditions can rapidly change from stable to life threatening. 

Through the pediatric critical care transport program, highly specialized doctors and nurses can be dispatched by aircraft, helicopter, and ambulance anywhere in Alberta, eastern B.C. or western Saskatchewan. Upon their arrival they begin administering care while bringing the children back to the hospital.

"You can think of it almost as a bit of a mobile ICU and they are being dispatched 300 times a year, sometimes twice a day, so that's a lot of children you will be helping."

She praised all those who make Homes for Hope possible.

Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards and Mayor Jeff Genung were among the guests who also spoke briefly.

With the basement already poured, construction will begin tomorrow. Previously, Iaquinta said it will take about seven months to construction and may even be sold before it's completed.