Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Entrusting it to You

You come from a country far away, seeking a new life. You are a single mom, with a young child, and you come to a land of opportunity and potential. You quickly find a great job, in a daycare program in a local school, and your child settles into the school as well. And then, one day, the bottom falls out of your world, because you learn your child is sick. Very, very sick. And you learn you will have to face challenges you never before even thought possible.

This is the story of a woman who came to our country from her home country a few years ago. Since her arrival she has been working hard to provide a life for herself and her young child, finding a home in our Francophone community as this is her native tongue. She has already faced a few challenges, including transitioning to a new country and a new place far from family and friends, but no challenge could be as great as learning that her child had a rare chronic form of leukemia that would require years of medical treatment - treatment that is not available in Fort McMurray.

As a parent I can only imagine how that must feel. To have been through so many changes, and then to learn your child has a serious illness would be devastating, and to know you are facing it with few of the resources many of us have adds an additional layer of challenges. And the largest of these, of course, is financial.

This mom and her young child are now in Edmonton, staying at the local Ronald McDonald house while the child receives medical treatment. And while mom must deal with her fears for her child's health she also must deal with bills and expenses, money going out and not coming in because she has had to leave her job to care for a sick child. And suddenly the Canadian dream becomes a parent's worst nightmare, because you are bearing so much on your shoulders, and doing it alone.

Fortunately the family has developed friends here in Fort McMurray, and the school where the child attended and the mom worked has been busily hosting fundraisers and trying to help out financially so that her focus can be on the child's well-being, and not the money. And when they reached out to me for help I asked what I could do, because I am a mom and I am a single parent and I know that anything hurting the Intrepid Junior Blogger is my worst fear.

Sometimes at night I creep into the IJB's room to check on her, even though she is now 14 and says this is unnecessary. I like to stand in the doorway and listen to her breathing, huddled up under her blankets and often with two bleary green cat eyes peering up at me from the small black feline tangled up in the bed with her. And every time I find myself feeling both intense love and gratitude, so grateful that my child has been spared so many of the things other children have suffered. The last time I did this I thought about another single mom, who probably watches her child sleep and feels such pain instead.

Today I am going to do something I rarely do. I am going to ask you directly to do something, because this matters. I am going to ask you to donate to this young child and mother, because they need our community right now. I am going to ask you to think about your own children, or about being a parent. I am going to ask you to think about challenges you faced, and if you faced them alone how it felt - and how amazing it was when someone reached out a helping hand.

It doesn't need to be a lot, you see, because small amounts quickly add up if we all contribute, and every contribution matters. They will enable this mom to pay the nominal fees to stay at the wonderful Ronald McDonald house, to pay for taxis to and from the hospital (as she does not drive and could not afford a car and gas and insurance even if she did), and to allow her to focus on one thing and one thing alone - seeing her child through a terrible and devastating illness.

You can donate in two ways:
  • Direct deposit can be made to BMO, 289 Powder Dr, Fort McMurray, AB T9K 0M3, Siham El Amile
  • Cash donations are collected at the Canadian Francophone Association of Alberta (ACFA, 312 Abasand Drive, office 100). Please mention it is for Siham El Amile.
This is the season of giving, and family, and joy - but a family who has been part of our community now for several years finds themselves this year in another city, facing a terrible disease, and dealing with fear, pain, and suffering. We have it in our hands to help them. I entrust the rest to you, Fort McMurray.

1 comment:

  1. I love this town for always reaching out to help people in need. No other town I have lived in has been so generous. I think part of it is that many of us came here from tough times and we feel when people need help. Please help this person if you can it could be your sister, cousin or friend. We all need help from time to time.