Meet Elysia and her mom Rocio: How Jeneece Place and Bear Essentials have helped this Qualicum family

We’re all too familiar with the COVID virus, and you’ve heard of the Norwalk virus and the chicken pox virus, but have you heard of Cytomegalovirus (CMV)? It’s a common virus that can infect almost anyone. It rarely causes any symptoms, but if you’re pregnant, it’s cause for concern.

Thirteen years ago, Qualicum mom Rocio Beaudry was pregnant and didn’t know she had the virus. However, her daughter Elysia’s health challenges have been linked to Rocio’s CMV, and Elysia will have lifelong challenges because of it.

Two weeks before her due date, Rocio’s final ultrasound showed her baby had cysts in her brain. At the time, no one knew what caused them, and no one knew what they meant for the baby’s future.

After Elysia’s birth, there were no indications anything was wrong. She was a beautiful baby girl. But a few months later, Rocio noticed Elysia wasn’t feeding properly – food was getting caught in her upper airway, and she wasn’t getting the nutrition she needed to thrive and survive.

Worried about her baby, Rocio rushed nine-month-old Elysia to Victoria General Hospital while dad Gilbert and brother Tristen stayed home. Elysia needed a feeding tube called a J-tube and was hospitalized.

Rocio stayed at the hospital hour after hour by Elysia’s bedside. She slept on uncomfortable couches and ate out of vending machines. She went days without a shower, not wanting to leave her daughter’s side. With a child in hospital, nowhere to stay close by, and the rest of her family far away, Rocio had never felt so alone. She handled her circumstances with grace because there was no other option.

How Jeneece Place has kept this family close

Doctors say Elysia has a cerebral palsy-like condition. At 13 years old, she is non-verbal and uses a specialized wheelchair. With her ongoing health challenges, the family has traveled to Victoria frequently, like when Elysia attended a wheelchair seating clinic at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health; or when Elysia needed surgery to lengthen her leg tendons; or when she needs CT scans to monitor her seizures.

Although Jeneece Place wasn’t available when Elysia was born, the Beaudry family has stayed at the house frequently in the past decade and are relieved to know they have a home away from home now, and in the future.

How Bear Essentials has changed their lives

Bathing Elysia became more difficult as she got older, and Rocio was desperately looking for solutions to help Elysia into the bath. The family’s bathroom couldn’t accommodate a lift, nor could they afford a remodel.

So they were overjoyed to learn of Bear Essentials, the Foundation’s family support program that assists with the costs of equipment and health-related travel for Island kids.  Bear Essentials contributed to the cost of a roll-in shower so that Elysia can be wheeled inside – much to her delight.

“She loves showering. She knows that every single time she gets in her shower wheelchair, she’s going to have a shower, and she is so happy,” said Rocio.

Thanks to donors like you, the Beaudry family has been able to prioritize Elysia’s health and happiness. Will you help make sure all Island families have the same opportunity?

“Thank you so much for donating. Bear Essentials made our lives easier,” said Rocio.

Island kids need you this holiday season

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