Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 17, 2007
Grateful thanks for the hand that helped
Beset by disease, this family was helped back on its feet by good-hearted souls
- Design Pics photo
The besieged family survived thanks to those who gave them a hand.
By MARIE-JEANNE DAVIE
Special to the WCR
In October 2006, my daughter found out she had breast cancer. On Dec. 22 - three days before Christmas and one week before her 28th birthday - she was told that the cancer was in her liver, bones and lungs. She is a single mother of two girls, at that time age three and five.
The three of them moved in with my husband (their dad and grand-pa), my youngest daughter and me.
I have multiple sclerosis and my husband had cancer in 2005 and a heart attack in 2006. My youngest daughter is nine - and she was the strongest one in the family.
Robin started radiation and chemotherapy. The day after her second chemo treatment she was unable to get out of bed. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and we were told that she had a severe infection and to call any family members who might want to see her before she died. Her doctors did not expect her to live.
Within days I was inundated with offers of help. One friend took all three girls - my nine-year-old daughter and my two granddaughters and cared for them in her home for two or three weeks.
My husband and I "moved in" to the hospital. I slept on a bed in Robin's room and he slept on a couch in the family room.
Robin did survive that crisis, although she was still paralyzed, confined to bed and totally dependent on others for all her needs. I brought the girls home and drove them to school and daycare.
Robin had been working at a daycare before she got sick, and the daycare was continuing to care for the girls - without being paid. I went to the hospital every day to feed Robin lunch and her dad went every evening to feed her supper.
One of the Knights of Columbus at Holy Family Parish phoned to ask what they could do. I suggested a ramp into my house would help me, as stairs are difficult for me. Well, they didn't think a ramp was the best solution, so they bought and installed a lift so I could get into my house more easily.
When the Knights in Stony Plain heard of this project, they also gave a very large donation. We homeschool our daughter, and because I was spending so much time at the hospital, a homeschooling friend picked my daughter up every morning, took her home, did her lessons and brought her home after supper.
One lady, with six children of her own, including a one-year-old, drove to my house every week, picked up my laundry, took it to her home, washed, dried and folded it, and brought it back to my house.
We could not have lived through this year without your support.
Another lady asked a few mutual friends if they could contribute some money - at that time we thought we would be paying for a funeral - showed up at my door with an incredible amount of money, and told me that people she didn't even know had been phoning her asking if they could donate.
Several times I have had people come to my house bringing cooked meals that they had collected from their friends.
Thousands of people have been praying for Robin and all our family. One of the many cards she received has signatures of over 20 families promising prayers.
Family and friends, parishes and prayer chains in Edmonton and all its surrounding communities, Barrhead, Westlock, Innisfail, Wainwright, Calgary, Dawson Creek, Ontario, Quebec and Poland have been praying for us.
Robin has confounded all her doctors. She has not only survived, but she got better. Although she is not walking on her own yet, she has regained movement in her arms and legs. This is more exciting than the first time she learned to walk, because then I expected her to learn to walk. This time I didn't.
Palliative to rehab
She can feed herself and wheel herself around in her wheelchair. She has been transferred from the Grey Nuns palliative ward to the Glenrose, where she is getting rehabilitative therapy. Because we have the lift here, she was able to come home for Thanksgiving and for her daughters' birthday.
The point of this article is to thank all those people who have done so much for all our family. I don't even know who many of them are.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for the gifts of "stuff" - food, money, clothes, and all the work you have done for us.
Thank you for all your prayers and sacrifices. We could not have lived through this year without your support.