Emily Hohnstein is the inspiration behind Emily’s Angels.

Emily Hohnstein is the inspiration behind Emily’s Angels.

Nanoose Bay family bands together in time of need

Emily's Angels, 'a family designed project,' raises awareness for cerebral palsy

One big family — consisting of 16 children — is making an even bigger difference.

Carrie Hohnstein’s seven-year-old daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy at birth and now she needs surgery to reconstruct and anatomically correct her hips.

Hohnstein expects it will be an “extensive surgery” with a six month recovery period.

And in light of this difficult time, Emily’s 15 siblings are rallying together to raise awareness about the condition, and hopefully, to purchase an all-terrain jogging stroller so Emily can continue to enjoy the outdoors.

The cerebral palsy organization describes the condition as “a neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development …  it primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination.”

Hohnstein said her family started a campaign called “Emily’s Angels” in September. She said they are handcrafting and selling tiny angels and Christmas trees made out of sea shells from the beach.

“It’s grown bigger than just a fundraising campaign,” she told The NEWS from her Nanoose Bay home.

Hohnstein explains she home-schools seven of her children, so she decided to make Emily’s Angels into a school project.

She said the angels are made out of hand-picked shells collected from nearby beaches, cleaned and oiled by Emily’s family members and each item includes a tag that reads: “We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.”

Hohnstein anticipates Emily’s surgery will be sometime in the new year.

“We’re hoping to decrease our daughter’s worries about her upcoming surgery and to strengthen others facing life challenges,” she said, adding the fundraising goal is $5,000.

“I, as her mother, feel somewhat helpless with her situation and Emily’s Angels has brought some helpful purpose as well,” she said about what she called “a family designed project.”

Emily’s Angels are for sale by donation and will be available this Saturday at the Qualicum Beach Farmers’ Market and at the Adoption Christmas Party slated for Dec. 13 at Nanoose Place. For more information, contact Carrie Hohnstein at 250-821-1974 or e-mail hohnstein@shaw.ca.