Thanks to a helping hand from local service clubs, a six-year-old Qualicum Beach resident now has a new piece of equipment.
Elysia Beaudry, 6, was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common virus that can affect almost anyone, according to her mom Rocio Recinos.
Recinos said any bodily fluid can transmit the virus.
“I was pregnant with her and this disease, apparently everybody has been exposed to it, for some reason I only got exposed to it when I was pregnant with her,” Recinos said. “Most babies (with CMV) are born deaf, blind or dead or deaf and blind together, but with Elysia, it just attacked her brain. She has glasses, and one of her ears is fine, but that’s pretty much it. Most kids can still walk with that, but with her she can’t.”
Recinos said Beaudry is almost like a cerebral palsy baby, adding that the doctors told her she will never get better.
Naomi Domes, Beaudry’s physical therapist for the past seven years, said she can receive some money from the government when Beaudry outgrows her equipment, but she needs to look through recycled equipment first.
“The ministry will pay for a certain amount, so they pay $3,200, and anything over and above that, either parents have to pay out of pocket, or I have to fundraise somehow,” Domes said.
Domes said she got the idea to get in contact with some of the local non-profit clubs, which are known to help youth, such as the Parksville-Qualicum Shrine Club and the Parksville-Qualicum Kiwanis Club.
“I had called Kiwanis and somebody said call Peter (Tryon), then I wrote a letter to Peter and he said, ‘Well, have you heard of the Shriners? They can help too.”
With the help of the Parksville-Qualicum Shrine Club and the Parksville-Qualicum Kiwanis Club, Beaudry was able to get a standing frame. Peter Tryon, the president of the local Kiwanis Club, said the club donated about $500. Colin Craig, a member of the local Shrine Club, said his club donated about $4,500 toward the standing frame.
Craig said the Shriners have a fund called Shriners in Your Community, which provides equipment such as wheelchairs, leg braces and prosthetics to children who have outgrown their previous equipment.
“That fund has money available for any specialized equipment for local children,” Craig said.
Beaudry outgrew her previous standing frame, said Domes, so she was without one for about nine months.
“We started (looking) in the end of October when we knew we had to get one, and in November we started the process,” Domes said. “When it sped up was when I got in contact with these guys because previous to that, I didn’t have the funding to get it going.”
Domes said having local clubs, such as the Shriners and Kiwanis, was definitely a big help.
“For the little tykes like this, and for families in our community there’s definite medical needs behind having this type of stuff,” Domes said. “We’re so thankful that we can have people to help support us because families are definitely in a position where they just can’t afford all the medical needs that are ongoing from birth well into the adult years.”
This current standing frame, which Beaudry has had for about three months, will last her into adulthood, said Domes. She also said the frame will extend and grow with Beaudry.
The standing frame, Domes said helps with a number of different things for Beaudry.
“This device helps maintain her joints, her muscles, her ligaments, her digestive system, the circulatory system, the lungs to allow them to expand because, as a girl in a wheelchair, she’s not going to move like you and I. This allows her to take pressures off her body,” Domes said.
Recinos also said Beaudry uses the standing frame when she’s at school at Bowser Elementary.
“I’m not there, but her aide said she just loves it and she gets to move around a bit with other kids,” Recinos said of Beaudry who recently started Grade 2. “Every single time we’re going to put her in (the chair), she’s really happy. She enjoys being in it.”