Mystery illness keeping Comox Valley man in hospital bed

"I've been wanting to go home for awhile," Isaac LeBlanc says as he grins at his big understatement.


“I’ve been wanting to go home for awhile,” Isaac LeBlanc says as he grins at his big understatement.

LeBlanc, a 27-year-old Comox Valley resident, has been in hospital care for well over a year, after he started suffering from neck pain in late 2011.

His condition quickly worsened and within a matter of weeks he was unable to speak or move his body from the neck down.

LeBlanc spent time in hospitals in Vancouver and Victoria as medical professionals tried to diagnose what was wrong.

According to his mother Wendy LeBlanc, Isaac has been diagnosed with a rare form of multiple sclerosis called Marburg, but she adds there’s still a “big question mark” beside the diagnosis.

Isaac is now at St. Joseph’s General Hospital and is able to speak — though with obvious effort — and move his arms and hands. However, he still cannot move his lower body, basically from his chest down.

Slowly, but steadily, Isaac has been improving. Wendy notes he recently had some sensations in his feet for a short while, and he’s building his strength back through physiotherapy.

She adds Isaac can’t live in an apartment or house unless it has wheelchair access, and she hasn’t been able to find suitable accommodation in the Valley.

Thus, she says, doctors suggest Isaac to go to a long-term care facility during this part of his recovery.

“They want to send him to an old folks home — which is not good,” says Wendy. “He’s like ‘I don’t want to go there Mom, I don’t want to go there.’ “

Isaac’s father owns a duplex in Courtenay, and Isaac lived in one of the suites before he became ill. Because the existing bathroom and bedroom are upstairs, Wendy wants to add a wheelchair-accessible bathroom and bedroom to the lower portion of the suite.

She would live in the suite next door so she can take care of Isaac.

She’s researched 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.

But, she says quotes for the work have come in between $46,000 and $52,000.

She plans to fundraise for the remainder of the cost, and plans are in the works for a fundraiser May 4 at the Lower Elks Hall.

Wendy hopes to have live bands, a potluck meal and poker tournament during the event and is looking for volunteers to help organize as well as volunteer bands and donated items to be given away as prizes. Anyone who would like help out can call Wendy at 250-218-6489.

Wendy and Isaac say they are very thankful to the community for the support they received last year when Wendy chose to stay with Isaac during his time in Victoria and Vancouver.

“I could never have been there for Isaac if they didn’t do that — I could never have done it myself because of being on disability (income) myself. I mean I would have probably had to stay in my car,” she says, adding she told Isaac she would be there for him in the beginning. “I wasn’t leaving his side, I would have been in the car if I had to.

“I’m so grateful for everything (the community) did and I could never, ever have done it without them.”

Just Posted

Three small wildfires burning west of Courtenay

The blazes are the result of a brief thunderstorm last night

Outdoor classroom coming to Huband Park Elementary

The project has been a collaboration of various community groups, says PAC member

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Public to have say about pot

Senate passes Cannabis Act

A talent in the making

Pats consider 16-year-old a leader

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Reports of explosion in Okanagan turn out to be squirrel vs. power line

The noise was described as ‘similar to a shotgun blast’ that shook the Earth

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

California court hears tales of shackled, starved children

David and Louise Turpin have pleaded not guilty to torture, child abuse of their 12 children

Trudeau in nothern B.C. to announce pledge to protect oceans

Prime minister announces conservation agreement with 14 First Nations

Courtenay Canada Day celebrations

The excitement is building for Courtenay Canada Day celebrations in and around… Continue reading

FIFA World Cup weekly roundup

Host nation Russia remains unbeaten in Group A, tied with Uruguay

Trudeau says he can’t imagine Trump damaging U.S. by imposing auto tariffs

New tariffs on Canadian autos entering the U.S. would amount to a self-inflicted wound on the U.S. economy

Most Read