Courtenay’s Isaac Leblanc is now on a waiting list for a long-term care facility.
The 27-year-old has been in hospital care since late 2011 due to an illness that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
His mother Wendy has been by her son’s side the entire time and has been fundraising to renovate Isaac’s old home, because if it’s wheelchair-accessible, Isaac can go home instead of to a long-term care facility.
“They (medical professionals) put him on the (long-term care facility) list yesterday,” Wendy said Thursday. “And Isaac’s going, ‘No, Mom, I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to go to a facility.’
“We don’t want him there because, from what I’ve been told by many, many people, and a few people I know that work in the facilities, they said you go from bad to worse in a facility.”
Isaac arrived back at St. Joseph’s General Hospital just over a week ago after spending about a month doing physiotherapy in a Nanaimo, according to Wendy.
She said Isaac hasn’t received any physiotherapy since he’s been back in the Valley, and she really wants to get him home.
“We just want to get him out of the hospital system,” she continued. “We just need him out of here. The hospital now is starting to drain him, like physically and mentally drain Isaac now, and the faster we can get him out of here, the better off we’ll be.”
Isaac lived in a Courtenay duplex owned by his father before he became ill in November 2011. Quickly, a pain in his neck turned into paralysis from the neck down. He couldn’t speak and his eyes were changing colour, among other things.
After long months, doctors diagnosed Isaac with a rare form of multiple sclerosis called Marburg, though Wendy noted the diagnosis is still somewhat uncertain.
Isaac has been improving steadily, according to Wendy, who pointed out that just 10 months ago Isaac couldn’t even lift his arms.
“He can feed himself now, he can change his own shirt now, he can wash his upper body, he can brush his own teeth, he can do all those things by himself now, like with assistance of course, but he can do that himself,” she continued.
Wendy and her family and friends have raised well over $10,000 for the renovations necessary to make Isaac’s duplex wheelchair-accessible. The total cost of the project is estimated at $55,000. Wendy has been working to get some funding from BC Housing’s Home Adaptations for Independence program, which will provide up $20,000 for home adaptations to help low-income people with disabilities in B.C.
She’s also considering setting up a registered charity so donors can receive tax receipts and she said she hopes some construction companies will come on board to help out with the project.
Many in the community have already rallied to support Isaac’s cause and two more fundraisers are coming up this week.
Andrew Sheret and Splashes Bath & Kitchen Centre, (corner of Kilpatrick and 29th), will host a fundraiser Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature a dunk tank, prizes, bounce-a-rama and a barbecue lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chad’s West Coast Grill and Bar will host a beer and burger fundraiser Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. with a silent auction, door prizes, 50-50 draw and other activities. Tickets are $20 and can be bought at the door. Call Evangeline Mathura at 250-898-7717 for more information.
For upcoming fundraising events, check Bring Isaac Home Campaign on Facebook, or to donate look for Bring Isaac Leblanc Home on www.gofundme.com.