How Bear Essentials supports the mobility and independence of Island kid Payton

Bear Essentials family - Payton

Island mom Shannon has big hopes and dreams for her eldest daughter, Payton. The outgoing and energetic four-year-old loves swimming, gymnastics, and playing with the animals on her family’s farm. She also happens to live with cerebral palsy.

When Shannon was pregnant with Payton in 2017, everything was normal. Baby Payton was born healthy and passed all medical tests with flying colours. She was reaching all her developmental milestones and was thriving. That is, until she was six months, when Shannon developed a strong gut feeling that something was wrong.

Payton began showing signs that there was something going on with her development. She wouldn’t pass things back and forth between her hands, struggled to learn to walk, and couldn’t supinate one of her hands. It took months before doctors would run tests on Payton, insisting everything was fine.

When she was two years old, Shannon’s suspicions were confirmed. Little Payton had had a stroke affecting the left side of her body. While they didn’t know when it had occurred, they did know that it meant that she had cerebral palsy. It would be a long road ahead for the Metchosin family.

Since then, Payton has had speech therapy, physiotherapy, and seen a neurologist. Prior to having her leg brace, she fell often and was usually covered in bruises and scrapes. Despite these challenges, Payton is high-functioning and has a resilient spirit.

And thanks to Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s Bear Essentials program, Shannon and her husband David were able to purchase an expensive brace for her left leg, which Payton promptly covered with superhero stickers.

“Bear Essentials means a lot to us cause Payton just wants to keep up with all the other kids. She doesn’t know that her body is any different and I don’t want her to ever feel like that. The leg brace gives her the ability to not fall every step and to be more mobile,” says Shannon.

While it will be an ongoing journey for Payton’s health in the future, having the support of Bear Essentials makes a world of difference to the family. Shannon expects that they will need to travel for Payton’s future medical treatments and physical therapy.

“We are very grateful for Bear Essentials and for the people that donate to this fantastic program. It definitely helps children’s lives,” says Shannon.

You can help Island kids with complex needs like Payton 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?


Make a gift

Please note, the Bear Essentials program continues to evolve to positively impact as many families as possible. As a result, items funded may shift over time. The guidelines on our website are the best resource to learn what is currently covered. Bear Essentials is a program that must be accessed through a referring health care professional. If you have any questions about this program, feel free to connect with our team by emailing

Bear Essentials family
Photo credit: Mary Jane Howland Photography