Seriously ill Comox Valley man smiling thanks to community ‘opening their hearts’

Comox Valley resident Isaac LeBlanc has something to smile about these days.


Comox Valley resident Isaac LeBlanc has something to smile about these days.

The 27-year-old has been in hospital care for well over a year, but thanks to some big hearts in the community, he may be able to go home sooner than later.

“With the community opening their hearts and stepping up like they are, they’re all absolutely, 100 per cent, making it possible for Isaac to go home,” says his mother Wendy LeBlanc. “He’s got such a huge smile on his face because he knows he’s going to go home.”

After suffering neck pain in late 2011, Isaac was soon unable to speak and paralyzed from the neck down. He has been in hospital care ever since.

According to Wendy, Isaac has been diagnosed with a rare form of multiple sclerosis called Marburg, but doctors still aren’t completely sure of the diagnosis.

Isaac is at St. Joseph’s General Hospital now and is slowly improving — he can speak, though with obvious effort and is regaining some movement of his body through physiotherapy.

Because he’s on the mend, Wendy says doctors suggest he go to a long-term care facility unless the family can find wheelchair-friendly housing for him.

They hope to adapt one of the suites in Isaac’s father’s Courtenay duplex, but Wendy says quotes for the adaptation work have come in around $50,000, which the family doesn’t have.

Meanwhile, Jay Cubitt, who works as a sales consultant at Island Honda in Courtenay, decided he wanted to help, after reading about Isaac’s situation in an early-March edition of the Record.

“I went and I met him, and met his Mom and I figured, you know, I’m pretty lucky, there’s got to be something I can do,” recalls Cubitt. “So I just sort of brought it up at a sales meeting the one day asking if I could use our property to host a fundraiser for him.”

The fundraiser will be April 20 at the dealership (1025B Comox Rd.), and will include a carwash from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus a BBQ from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cubitt notes the Vanier Secondary School leadership class has jumped on board to help out with the carwash, and Cubitt’s looking for a grocer to donate food for the BBQ so that all proceeds can go to help Isaac.

He also contacted Mayor Larry Jangula to see if he could help out in any way.

Besides visiting Isaac twice over the past couple of weeks at St. Joseph’s, Jangula’s been busy speaking to various community groups in an effort to garner support for Isaac.

“I’m just trying to really get the word out to organizations and people that I meet,” he says. “I think this is a really, really worthwhile thing. I’m also hoping to talk to people in the construction industry and hope that we’ll get some help from there, and also in the building supply industry.”

Cubitt also told Wayne Rideout of Rideout construction about the family’s plans to adapt their Courtenay home — and Rideout is donating his time to see whether the proposed project is feasible, what it would entail and exactly how much it would cost.

Meanwhile, Wendy is looking into 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.

Plus, she’s organizing a fundraiser at the Lower Elks Hall, which will be on May 4 and feature live bands, a potluck meal and a poker tournament with prizes. Anyone interested in contributing to the event can call her at 250-218-6489.

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