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.

Just Posted

Northbound lanes re-open along Malahat after small rockslide near Goldstream

Drivers asked to use caution, clean-up crews have finished on-site

Comox Valley Glacier Kings drop see-saw affair to Nanaimo

Team still looking for that elusive first win of the season

Three on ballot, two running for Union Bay Improvement District board

Voters will go to the polls to choose new board member on Saturday, Nov. 23

Cumberland waits for child care plan before deciding on Beacon

Village also wants to clarify funding requirements prior to any agreement

Comox Valley initiative collects items for those in need

Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) is a ‘Kindness Care Package Project’ that… Continue reading

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Fisherman missing near Lake Cowichan’s Shaw Creek

Family is asking for everyone and anyone to keep their eyes open,… Continue reading

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read