Submitted by YANA
Special to The Record
Lindsay Dalley, Comox Valley resident and mother of four, wasn’t anticipating that a trip to the ER was going to turn into a transfer to Victoria General Hospital for her daughter Eliza, who developed a serious infection that required a treatment not offered at the Comox Valley Hospital.
Eliza was diagnosed with a difficult to treat strain of infection called actinomycetes following a surgery she’d recently undergone. After seeing no improvement in the infection from oral antibiotics, it was determined that Eliza required IV antibiotics and a PICC line, a procedure that needed to be done in the pediatric unit of Victoria General Hospital.
Lindsay recalled the day she received the news they would be required to leave the community for Eliza’s health.
“I had asked on a moms’ group what items I should bring for a stay at the Victoria hospital and that was when I had been told that I should contact YANA for financial support,” said Lindsay. “My husband was away at work in Alberta, I had done our bi-weekly grocery shop and filled the car with fuel; we are a one-income household and payday was the following week. I literally had under $100 left when we got the call to go to the Victoria hospital. We were told to pack for two, possibly three days. I didn’t think much about it and would just make it work, and then when we got there I was told she would be there at least five days. I slept on the couch with my toddler in her room that first night.
“The following day is when I was able to contact YANA and they made arrangements for us to stay at Jeneece Place next door. It was an emotional roller coaster for sure when I realized I had no way to pay for a place or food for a stay of at least five days; it was instant relief when I got in contact with YANA.”
This kind of trip isn’t uncommon for Comox Valley families to make when their children require treatment not offered in the community, but the sudden and emergent need to go can leave families feeling helpless as they face many challenges. Things like arranging and covering the costs of travel, parking, accommodations and food, add up quickly. They can weigh on a family a lot, especially with the stress and worry that comes along with having a sick child.
Executive Director Kelly Barnie remembers receiving the voicemail from Lindsay and talking on the phone with her on a Saturday morning while she was in the room with Eliza, who was struggling to be able to swallow the meds she had to take.
“I could hear the worry in Lindsay’s voice so clearly, but also the amazing mama bear strength she was mustering for her little girl,” said Barnie. “The stress of needing to help her take the pills that she needed to take at that moment, but also the weight of what the future would bring because of this rare infection, made my heart ache for her. I was so incredibly grateful then, as I am every time I explain the support YANA provides, that we are lucky enough to live in a community that comes together so strongly in support of our children and families.”
Months later, Eliza is still receiving treatment after a nearly year-long course of antibiotics, and the family continues to wait anxiously for a surgery that will hopefully resolve the problem for good. In the meantime, Lindsay knows she can reach out to YANA along the way for anything from surgical consults through to post-op check-ups, with the assurance that YANA will be there the whole road, and that thanks to a community that rallies together for families, they are not alone.
YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother.
For more information, visit yanacomoxvalley.com
The annual Valley Vonka fundraiser in support of YANA is now in full swing.
Chocolate bars are available for purchase (by donation), with “Golden Tickets” randomly inserted inside five Valley Vonka chocolate bars.
Finding a Golden Ticket gives you a chance at one of five great grand prize packages, from Mount Washington Alpine Resort; The Old House Hotel & Spa; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort; Canadian Tire; and Peninsula Co-op.
Chocolate bars are available at:
• Comox Valley Record office
• Ashley Furniture Homestore
• Old House Hotel, OhSpa, Locals Restaurant
• Mount Washington Alpine Resort
• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa
• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Location)
• Canadian Tire
• Hot Chocolates
• Sure Copy
• Bomback & Co.
• Blinds and Bubbles Boutique
• Living Room Pharmacy
• Margot Rutherford Notary
• Mackenzie Gartside
• Pilon Tools