How Bear Essentials supports the emotional wellbeing of these Island brothers with complex needs

Island kids health - mother and her sons on a beach on Vancouver Island

For any new parent, adjusting to the role of parenthood can be challenging. Between helping care for her three brothers with Down Syndrome, her respite kids, and her two sons Kason and Wyatt, Island mom Heather has her hands full.

Growing up with five adopted brothers and sisters with complex needs, Heather always knew that she wanted to expand her family by adopting children with similar needs to her siblings. When she learned that a seven-year-old in Bulgaria needed a family, she adopted Wyatt as her first son. Two years later, Heather welcomed seven-year-old Kason from Nanaimo. The family was complete.

Now nine and 13, both boys have Down Syndrome. Wyatt was recently diagnosed with autism and has challenging behaviours, while Kason has a heart irregularity that has not presented him with complications. And even though they are physically healthy, trauma from their early years mean that they require extra support for their emotional wellbeing.

When Wyatt’s occupational therapist recommended a long list of equipment that would positively support his behavioural development, Heather was shocked at the cost. From a specialized wheelchair wheel, to a transportation vest, to a vibrating pillow spinning board, the equipment totalled thousands of dollars. It was simply not feasible for the single mom.

“I was so stressed and didn’t know how I would afford it. It would take me months and months to save. But Wyatt’s specialist said that he needed these tools as soon as possible,” remembers Heather.

Torn between giving her son the best possible quality of life and making ends meet, Heather did not know where to turn. When she found out about Bear Essentials, she was overcome with relief.

“When I found out that you approved our request, I was so grateful! Bear Essentials has lifted so much stress from me.  Now I know Wyatt will be able get what he needs,” says Heather.

Thanks to the specialized wheelchair wheel, Heather and Wyatt’s educational assistants can safely maneuver while keeping a hand on Wyatt to make sure he is emotionally well at a given moment. The boys have also each received a bean bag chair, with the physical stimulation calming their nervous systems when they feel distressed. Heather feels peace of mind knowing that her sons’ complex needs are supported in the best possible way.

“It’s so nice to know that if something is really important and your child needs it, there is an opportunity for it to be provided without extra stress financially. Bear Essentials lightens the load,” says Heather.

“You guys come alongside Island families and help them. You truly care and work really hard to fulfill the needs of the kids.”

You can help Island kids with complex needs like Wyatt and Kason access the essential equipment they need. Will you help bring peace of mind to Island families by making a gift to the area of greatest need?


Island kids need you this holiday season