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

Portables arrive for students on Hornby Island

Five portable classrooms have officially arrived on Hornby Island this week in… Continue reading

Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Rideout Construction will pay $91,200 in lieu of 24 parking stalls

Union Bay police standoff ends peacefully

A police standoff in Union Bay was resolved peacefully Monday evening. According… Continue reading

First North Island College Artist Talk Series of 2019 features Barb Hunt

Internationally renown Canadian artist speaks at Stan Hagen Theatre

Frustrated Mariner Apartments residents find few answers in community meeting

Tensions were high Monday evening for frustrated renters of Mariner Apartments in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019… Continue reading

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

VIDEO: Mattress fire at Cowichan Hospital under investigation

The Cowichan District Hospital was locked down on Tuesday afternoon due to… Continue reading

Most Read