A Courtenay man with a rare and debilitating form of multiple sclerosis received his Christmas wish when he made it home for the holidays.
Isaac LeBlanc, 29, has a mysterious illness called Marburg that has left him paralyzed. For about the past year he has lived at Glacier View Lodge, a complex care facility.
“He’s doing really good, he’s happy to be home,” his mother Wendy said, noting the difference over the past year has been “day and night.
“It’s been a long time. It’s been three years in the making. It’s pretty exciting. He’s changed a lot in this last year, he’s grown a lot and gotten a lot stronger. Every day he keeps getting stronger.”
LeBlanc started suffering from neck pain in late 2011. His condition quickly worsened. Within a matter of weeks he was unable to speak or move his body from the neck down. He spent time in hospitals in Vancouver and Victoria as medical professionals tried to diagnose what was wrong.
When Isaac first moved to Glacier View, he had limited control of gross hand movements, and he couldn’t turn over in bed. But neurophysio Robert Johnson and the restorative care team developed a rehab strategy that enabled him to regain and develop his upper body strength. Isaac worked on his fine motor skill by re-learning to write and use the keyboard.
“It isn’t often that we get to prepare someone for going home from a senior’s facility such as this,” director of resident services Bev Powell said. “It has been a wonderful opportunity for our staff to learn and participate in his care and his progress.”
Before Isaac can return home, a wheelchair-accessible ramp needs to be constructed at his duplex.