Supporting a Campbell River family far from home


A 60-minute ultrasound appointment is still the single-worst hour of Brian’s life.

Brian and his wife, Ricci, looked at each other in shock as the doctor had told them he was worried their unborn baby didn’t have parts of her brain, she had a cleft in her mouth, and she was missing a kidney.  She needed to be delivered right away, and it was all Brian could do not to break down and sob.

The next few days were incredibly hard. They had a beautiful baby girl but had to wait for test results to tell them whether she was ever coming home. Brian and Ricci had to stay in Victoria, far away from their house, community and the people they loved. A social worker found them a room at Jeneece Place, a home away from home for families with kids receiving medical care in Victoria.

“When we walked up to the door of Jeneece Place I had no idea what to expect.  We were greeted with a warm hug and as we toured the house, I started to cry and cry and couldn’t stop.  Not only was this a place to stay, it was a home with food and a kitchen and caring, kind people,” said Brian.

As well as having the support of Jeneece Place, the family also benefited from the Foundation’s Bear Essentials program. The program provided the funds the family urgently needed to buy a breast pump for Ricci.

Since Emma’s birth, the Queen Alexandra Centre’s Cleft Lip and Palate services has followed her growth and progress, carefully tracking how it has affected her speech and hearing. Today, she goes to the hearing clinic in Courtenay and Dogwood Place has provided occupational therapy and speech and language development.

“We didn’t just go to appointments with these health professionals. They became a part of our lives. They played with Emma and never treated her like just another sick kid. Because of the amazing support of these people, Emma has not only grown but thrived,” says Brian.

Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island funds these programs, meaning Emma and her family received all this support because of donors’ generosity.

Continue to help support Island families like this by participating in Fuel Good Day. On September 18, fill up your tank at a participating Peninsula Co-op location on the Island, knowing that 5 cents from every litre will support the Children’s Health Foundation. Read more about Fuel Good Day here.