Suddenly They Don’t Have Any Plans, None
Real People Meeting Highway to Healing. Written by Joseph Seiler, posted on Connie Denesiuk’s blog.
This thirteen year old, let us call her Ava, is pretty much like many others, full of the energy of youth, the confusion, the newness of life, the hopes. Parents are in full stride, both working at getting that mortgage under control, dealing with two jobs and raising three children. Life is ups and downs sprinkled with hard work, hard play and all that normal stuff of family in mid process. Plans are loosely made to someday get to Disneyland, and maybe a second car and to fit around those, the kitchen reno. It’s sometimes hard and sometimes just life. But there is a plan and plans represent hope. It is actually pretty good.
A few kilometers away, one of the children is approaching her second birthday, let us call her Bea. This family is not much different than above. Aspirations, struggles, victories, plans and hopes mixed with some down days but full of laughter and possibility. Plans for a better future are in place, even if not formally written down.
These are ordinary people, living ordinary lives here in our community, mostly happy, mostly just going through the hump financial years until they can clear the money hurdles we all understand. They look forward. They have typical plans.
Then unexpected happens. Ava has trouble walking and is found to have a bone tumor in one knee. Bea is diagnosed with leukemia (yes, at two years of age). They both must be taken to a special hospital, to travel far enough and stay long enough and the situation is scary enough that Mom or Dad has to go with them, stop working (stop receiving salary) and take on the expenses of staying near the hospital. The parent left home now has the household and scared children to somehow support while they all deal with their fears. Suddenly, they don’t have any plans, none. Disney et al have fallen off the list. Suddenly, they don’t have any plans, none…
These are real people and are our neighbours. This is all a very tough blow. If we were a large metropolis, that special hospital might be here. We aren’t and it is not. Where is there help for at least some of these new and non-negotiable needs?
One man, who lives in Oliver, noticed a support organization in the Comox valley that seemed to address such situations head on. No it didn’t solve it all, but it certainly mitigated the initial shock for families like these. He started to lobby locally to establish something like the You Are Not Alone (YANA) organization in the Comox area. What he heard initially was not encouraging. “we are too few to support such a thing”, “who will run it?”, “How will we fund such an organization?”. Over a year of discouragement passed. Finally, while participating in a ‘visioning session’ with his Rotary club, he became inspired to enrol the five people he thought, if any could, might provide the boost to make Highway To Healing a possibility. It now exists and is functioning due to amazing community support, helping Ava and Bea, also the 14 year old who needed a heart transplant … and, regrettably, many more.
A hearty shout out of ‘thank you’ to this little team. Highway to Healing Support Society provides an Oliver and Area C center to reintroduce hope to the families who Suddenly Don’t Have Any Plans. Travel and living money, introductions to support agencies, a resource person to talk with, a life-line when it is most needed.
Highway to Healing needs donations for sure, but number one today is to increase local awareness and how to contact them. Tell two friends. Be the neighbour our families need. Thank you.