Comox Valley Airport café launchces YANA fundraiser Tuesday

YANA BABY Addison Hargreaves has inspired On The Fly Café owners Jackie Blocka (far left) and Andrea Wagemaker (far right) to start the YANA Love Your Mug fundraiser at the Comox Valley Airport. They are joined here by Addison
YANA BABY Addison Hargreaves has inspired On The Fly Café owners Jackie Blocka (far left) and Andrea Wagemaker (far right) to start the YANA Love Your Mug fundraiser at the Comox Valley Airport. They are joined here by Addison's five-year-old sister, Mackenzie, and Anita Brassard, executive director of YANA.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

Addison Hargreaves was born almost four months premature weighing only two pounds and almost 14 ounces.

And she and her family had quite the journey.

Addison was born Jan. 21 at 27 weeks and six days, far from home at B.C. Women's Hospital in Vancouver.

"At 20 weeks, I got a weird feeling this pregnancy wasn't the same as Mackenzie's," said her mother Carlea Hirmer, who also has a five-year-old daughter, Mackenzie.

Hirmer was 20 centimetres dilated at 20 weeks, and she had to have a cerclage to stitch her cervix shut.

The cerclage didn't work, so she had to have another one, and then she had another cerclage at 23 weeks and four days.

One day at 26 weeks, Hirmer was laying on her couch when she sneezed and started hemorrhaging. She and her husband, Jody Hargreaves, rushed to St. Joseph's.

Hirmer was flown to Vancouver, and she was placed on strict bed rest at B.C. Women's Hospital in Vancouver.

She spent one week on bed rest. One night, Hirmer started bleeding everywhere. She went down to labour and delivery, and they gave her pills to stop labour for two days.

Six hours after the last pill, Hirmer's bleeding started again. Doctors pulled Hirmer's cerclage out, and labour began.

Addison's heartbeat never went below 166, and doctors were worried she had an infection.

Hirmer was induced at 10:59 p.m. Jan. 21, and Addison was born weighing 1,300 grams or two pounds and almost 14 ounces and measuring 15 inches long.

"Her skin was so thin," said Hirmer. "She's such a little miracle. Most babies born at her gestation need CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or intubation. She was on CPAP for two and a half days. She's still shocking all her doctors."

Hargreaves was back and forth a lot, as they have Mackenzie, and they live on a farm, so he needed to take care of the animals.

While in Vancouver, the family was able to stay at one of four You Are Not Alone (YANA) apartments.

"It was an awesome apartment, like home," said Hirmer. "The beds are so comfortable. There's everything you need there. It's perfect. If it wasn't for their apartment, there's no way I could stay there."

After two weeks at B.C. Women's Hospital, Addison was stable enough to go to Victoria General Hospital.

One day, the doctors at B.C. Women's Hospital told Hirmer she wouldn't move unless it was Nanaimo, but two days later, she was told to go to Victoria, and Addison would meet her there after being flown by ITT.

The family caught the last ferry, arriving in Victoria at 11 p.m. Addison wasn't at the hospital.

Hirmer was told Addison was never going to be moved because ITT wasn't available. The charge nurse at Victoria General Hospital phoned B.C. Women's Hospital and dealt with it, but they had to spend the night without Addison.

Addison was transported to Victoria the next day, and they spent two weeks at Victoria General Hospital because Nanaimo Regional General Hospital wouldn't take Addison until she was 36 weeks.

There are no YANA apartments in Victoria, so Hirmer phoned Anita Brassard, YANA's executive director, in tears and told her their situation. Brassard told Hirmer to stay in a hotel and put it on her credit card and that YANA would reimburse them.

Addison was moved to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Hirmer and Mackenzie were able to stay with Hirmer's parents in Parksville.

Addison spent five weeks in the hospital in Nanaimo.

They finally came home March 24 after spending time in three hospitals in three different cities.

"Every time they moved her, it was a week's setback because it stressed her out," said Hirmer. "I never want to go to another hospital."

Addison now weighs 10 pounds and 11 ounces and is gaining at the normal rate of a term newborn.

"To look at her, you'd never know she was premature four months," said Hirmer. "Before she was even supposed to be here, it was a lot."

Inspired by Addison's story, Andrea Wagemaker and Jackie Blocka, who own On The Fly Café in the Comox Valley Airport, have created a Love Your Mug fundraiser for YANA.

On The Fly Café will be launching the YANA Love Your Mug reusable mugs June 14 at 2 p.m. at the Comox Valley Airport.

During the celebration, there will be entertainment, and people can spin to win prizes and enter a draw for a barbecue.

For $16, customers can purchase a YANA Love Your Mug reusable mug, and $5 from each purchase will go to YANA.

"Our goal on this day is to promote YANA, first and foremost, and also raise money for YANA because they don't get outside funding," said Wagemaker. "It's 100 per cent community. Jackie and I being part of the community, it's a way to give back and participate."

People who buy a mug will receive a free cup of coffee or tea, and they will save 25 cents off coffee when they bring their mug back.

People can also purchase the café's exclusive YANA Jet Fuel Coffee for $12 a bag. Two dollars from each bag of this fair-trade, organic coffee by Creekmore's Coffee, goes to YANA.

Brassard is very thankful for Blocka and Wagemaker's efforts.

"They put tons of heart and soul into this," she said. "That's how we exist."

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