How Jeneece Place brings joy to Island kid June while undergoing medical treatment

Everything was going smoothly for expectant parents Browynne and Yogev as they prepared for the birth of their first little one. That is, until their 28-week ultrasound.

When doctors identified an extremely rare complication in Bronwynne’s pregnancy, they recommended that she immediately travel to Victoria to be close to the hospital. Living on Denman Island, this presented the family with challenging logistics.

Meeting baby June

When they learned that a home away from home called Jeneece Place had a room for them, they were overwhelmed with gratitude.

“Before we saw Jeneece Place, we thought it would just be a motel for families. I didn’t know it would be a place you’d want to live. Once we walked through the doors, we were relieved and amazed.” remembers Bronwynne, “I don’t know what families did before Jeneece Place.”

As Bronwynne stayed at Jeneece Place anticipating her scheduled cesarean delivery, Yogev made the trip back and forth to visit his wife as often as possible while juggling work. After three weeks at Jeneece Place, doctors bumped up the delivery close to a month sooner than planned due to Bronwynne’s condition. Baby June was quickly diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

While doctors ran tests in the NICU to learn more about June’s condition, Bronwynne settled back in to Jeneece Place. Being with other moms who also had babies in the NICU lessened her worries, even just for a few hours.

“I formed such close bonds with people going through almost exactly the same thing I was. The suffering of it all was eased because you could make jokes, look at pictures of their babies, and distract yourself in that way while you’re walking to the hospital together at 3:00 am.”

A true home away from home

Turning five this September, little June is a happy girl with a great sense of humour who loves art and is excited to start kindergarten. While she can walk and feed herself, her cerebral palsy affects the left side of her body and she has challenges using her left hand and keeping her balance with her left foot.

“June has been in physiotherapy and occupational therapy since she was three months old,” says Bronwynne. “We do a lot of intensive therapy for her left hand. She’s such a resilient little person who takes it all in stride.”

Thanks to donors who support Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, Jeneece Place is always there for the family when they need to return to Victoria twice a year for June’s health. And even though her appointments are typically painful treatments such as Botox and intensive physical therapy, June loves travelling to Victoria because it means she gets to stay at Jeneece Place.

“Her idea of Jeneece Place is this amazing, fun wonderland! Especially because she is always going through some mildly traumatic experience at the hospital, Jeneece Place is a way to make the experience fun for her,” says Bronwynne.

Your generosity means that Bronwynne and Yogev know they can always count on Jeneece Place, which has truly become a home away from home. Bringing their mixing bowls, flour, and sourdough starter with them from their bakery, they often prepare the next day’s baking in the kitchen before heading back to Denman Island.

“Jeneece Place means everything to us. For June, it’s not just this big scary experience plus a long car ride. It means going somewhere really special that’s geared just for her. It makes the horrible experience of her appointments much easier to handle.”

Thanks to donors of Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, families from across the Island and surrounding islands have a warm, safe place to call home when they need it most.

Will you help bring joy to Island kids with complex needs like June with your gift to the Kids First Fund?

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