Some might call it an early Christmas gift, but for Karena Crumpler, the generosity of others has given her son Owen the ability to plant his feet on the ground.
The Comox Valley mom has been watching Owen, 5, who has cerebral palsy, use rigid, plastic mobility aids to help him walk and move around.
“It has affected his four limbs and he is unable to use his walk or use his hands properly. (The aids) leave big gouges in his feet,” she explained.
Crumpler recently put the funding needed for a wheelchair on her credit card “right before Christmas,” but thanks to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, Owen will receive the gift of Dynamic Movement Orthotics.
“(Mobility aids) are very costly for special needs, and the opportunity came up to try the orthotics, which was designed in the U.K., but they are not funded through the government,” she noted.
Crumpler connected with Anita Brassard, community relations co-ordinator for the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, an organization that supports children and their families through programming and funding families experiencing urgent and unforeseen medical needs through the Bear Essentials program.
“The program is an example of the community coming together to raise our kids,” said Brassard.
The foundation also holds summer camps, constructed two Child, Youth, & Family Centres in the greater Victoria area and owns and operates Jeneece Place, a home away from home for families who travel to Victoria for their child’s medical care.
Because the cost of Owen’s orthotics would be around $1,000 and were recommended by a qualified professional, Crumpler applied for the program through local Comox Valley organization You Are Not Alone (YANA).
“I dropped off the application to the YANA office, and I got a call back the next day,” said Crumpler, who applied for the funding in the middle of November. “I was so surprised; nothing ever happens that quickly when you’re dealing with insurance companies. It was a big relief … to get something like this done so fast.”
As Owen was born prematurely, Crumpler said she lived in Vancouver with help from YANA while Owen recovered in hospital.
“We couldn’t have survived without (them),” she added.
Brassard noted the Bear Essentials program does not complete with YANA — for which she used to work — rather, it works in partnership.
“We pick up the next step; it’s a continuum of care,” she added.
Crumpler said she hopes the lycra-based orthotics will arrive this week, and help Owen increase his movement.
“What happens with cerebral palsy is that the muscles are pulling the feet inwards. Hopefully the orthotics will keep them open and he will be able to move his ankles fully around and be able to plant his feet and keep his hips in his sockets,” she explained.
“Plus it will give him his full range of motion and his independence.”
To donate to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island or for more information about their programs, visit childrenshealthvi.org.