Emily Ferreira’s sister is hoping to raise enough money to send her sibling to Panama for stem-cell treatment in order to help facilitate movement to her limbs. Photo submitted

Fundraisers in place to improve quality of life for Comox Valley quadriplegic

Emily Ferreira’s injuries the result of a motor vehicle incident in Courtenay in 2018

It’s been 18 months since Emily Ferreira’s life was turned upside down, and her sister Isabelle is doing all she can to ensure her sibling can have a better quality of life.

In February 2018, Ferreira, 26, was involved in a serious motor vehicle incident on Mission Hill in Courtenay, which closed the Island Highway for several hours.

Two people, including Ferreira, were sent to hospital via air ambulance.

Isabelle explained her family initially found out Ferreira’s back was broken at hospital in Victoria (C3 and C4 vertebrae) prior to being flown to Vancouver General Hospital where she was in and out of a coma.

“We didn’t know what her quality of life would be. We almost lost her a few times,” explained Isabelle.

While in hospital, doctors found Ferreira developed an infection from the hardware placed in the back of her neck.

Additionally, she had rods placed down her spine, plates in her neck, rods and plates in a fractured arm and fingers.

Despite multiple surgeries, Isabelle said her sister was able to gain slight movement and was given the green light to return to the Comox Valley prior to Christmas.

Because of limited availability in the area, Ferreira was placed at Glacier View Lodge.

“We didn’t know where Emily would end up, but the care aids at the home are absolutely amazing and treat her so well.”

She added Ferreira works with a physiotherapist who specializes in spinal cord injuries. As a result of her work, Emily has gained some movement in both of her arms and is able to touch the top of her head.

“It’s super amazing; she’s been a trooper. Her strength and determination are incredible. She’s pulled through so many ups and downs, and I am floored at how much she has improved and how well she kept it together.

“Her mind is a beautiful thing.”

Through her research, Isabelle found a treatment in Panama that specializes in stem-cell treatment for spinal cord injuries.

She explained stem-cells have the ability to rejuvenate cells when a spinal cord is severed. It can be successful when nerve impulses cannot get through the pathway into the spinal cord.

Isabelle added in the case of a quadriplegic like her sister, there is a possibility of going from not being able to use hands or arms to being able to perform regular functions such as brushing teeth and other tasks many people take for granted.

Lifetime costs for a quadriplegic are in the millions of dollars, and gaining use of upper limbs can lower the health care costs and significantly improve a patient’s quality of life, she said.

Currently, the Canadian health care system only funds stem-cell therapy for paraplegics, she added.

Following an application process, Ferreira was accepted for the therapy. Costs for the treatment range between $10,000 to $35,000 USD (about $50,000 CND).

Now, Isabelle is undertaking fundraisers to help her sister so that she can reach her goal of treatment. She has organized a GoFundMe page and a burger and beer event at the Prime Chophouse and Wine Bar in Courtenay on Oct. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. with an auction.

She is working at collecting various prizes for the event, with one prize of a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies.

“Our community is super amazing. I really want to get her there and for her to have a better life.”

She explained if the fundraising goal is met, any additional funds would go towards an accessible van for Emily to use. Currently, Isabelle said “it’s virtually impossible” for her sister to get out unless they book a van a week in advance.

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, visit bit.ly/2mNa1Gm. For more information on the fundrasing event at the Prime, visit the Facebook page Emily’s Road to recovery-stem cell treatment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Box containing hundreds of family photos found in Courtenay returned to rightful owner

Local media sources collaborate to solve family photos mystery

Two Comox Valley groups share annual Project Watershed award

Keep It Living Award given to Morrison Creek Streamkeepers and Comox Valley Land Trust

ATV crash at bottom of Mount Washington sends two to hospital

Two people were hospitalized following an ATV (all terrain vehicle) accident shortly… Continue reading

Game on! Outdoor pickleball season starts up in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Pickleball Association members Evie MacDonald and Donny Cruickshank (near court)… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Comox Valley business map offers information on local eateries, grocery stores and more

Search and click for hours and services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP told of alleged assault in Courtenay hours after the fact

Police only made aware of possible attack through social media posts

Tahsis opens its gates to visitors to save local economy

Seasonal local businesses that rely on tourism hope to survive despite drop in tourist numbers

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Comox Valley United appeals to district to support field house proposal

The Comox Valley United Soccer Club is looking for an approximate $150,000… Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity VIN wins national award for innovative approach to building

Courtenay and Campbell River builds represent 400 per cent growth in historical annual average

Most Read