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How Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island helped Adriana provide her baby with the basics
Above photo: Adriana and her son, Daniel, at home.
Victoria was a different kind of city 18 years ago, back when Adriana first moved there from Quesnel. It was easier to get by and affordability wasn’t as much of an issue. So when Adriana found out she’d be having her first baby in the spring of 2018, she knew that there would be some challenges down the road.
But those worries were forgotten when Adriana’s first baby, Daniel, was born in May. He was perfect. Born right on time and weighing six pounds, 14 ounces, Daniel was healthy, happy, and a welcome addition to Adriana’s family.
He was such a good-spirited baby that Adriana had no idea that, by the fall, he was very sick. It was only when baby Daniel had a seizure that they knew something was truly wrong.
“Daniel was watching Beauty and the Beast when, all of a sudden, he started shaking uncontrollably. This wasn’t Daniel shaking because he was learning to his hands and legs. This was different.”
That’s when the paramedics were called, and Daniel was immediately taken to Victoria General Hospital by ambulance. A blood test determined he had sepsis, a potentially life-threatening illness caused by E. coli.
Fighting through health challenges with Bear Essentials support
For the next 10 days, Daniel was given a high dosage of antibiotics. As Daniel fought to recover from the illness, Adriana remembers feeling helpless and overwhelmed. But it was during Daniel’s treatment that a social worker approached Adriana, letting her know about the Bear Essentials program and how it could ease some of her challenges.
“She talked to me and asked about my life situation. After telling her about my finances and some of the challenges I was facing, she thought I’d be a good candidate to apply for the Bear Essentials program. She must have noticed that we were struggling.”
With the social worker’s help, Adriana applied for Bear Essentials support. And with it, she’s been able to provide Daniel with basic necessities, essential to help him recover from his illness and grow healthier day by day.
Adriana bought cases of iron-enriched formula for Daniel. She bought boxes of diapers. As the weather turned Adriana knew she needed to buy warmer clothes for Daniel – Bear Essentials allowed Adrian to buy Daniel warm pajamas, long-sleeved clothes, and a hat. She could afford bus tickets to take Daniel to follow-up medical appointments, and also hopes to pay off some of the ambulance bill with the money.
Adriana is particularly grateful that Bear Essentials has helped her buy Daniel new bottles.
“While we were in the hospital, we found out that the bottles we’d been giving him weren’t suitable to be reused, even when they were washed and sterilized. They explained to us that these bottles are one-time use, and the plastic isn’t meant to be heated up. That shook me to the core – and Bear Essentials helped me get him proper bottles with proper nipples. That was invaluable.”
How baby Daniel is doing today
Today, Daniel is a healthy, rosy-cheeked and smiley baby. What was a near-tragedy for Adriana and Daniel turned out to have a silver lining. It led to Adriana learning about Bear Essentials, a program that has relieved financial stress, provided Daniel with the necessities he needed to recover quickly, and helped Adriana provide for her baby without needing to make sacrifices elsewhere in her life.
“Knowing about Bear Essentials now is a big relief. I now know that if anything goes wrong, that at least I can provide Daniel with the essentials he needs. It’s not like I have to choose between paying the hydro bill, getting groceries, or getting Daniel food – because of course, I’ll always choose Daniel first.
“To describe the Bear Essentials program, I’d say it’s a lifesaver and is truly there to help kids.”
When you donate, you help Island families like Adriana’s get access to the health care they need, when they need it the most.