At just 9 years old, Steven lives with Chiari Malformation, a neurological disorder that typically causes chronic pain and neurological issues. Daily routines are constantly interrupted by surgeries and appointments, and childhood fun is often restricted due to the exhaustion and pain that comes with it.
For Steven’s family, COVID-19 has brought on even more emotional and financial struggles. While many Canadians are facing similar battles, families like Steven’s are already coping with stresses unimaginable. The cost of their next meal should not be one.
“Both of our boys are immunocompromised, which means there are no more trips out on the bus to school or to the local store,” Steven’s mom, Crystal, shared. As the family does not drive, they are forced to rely on Ubers and Lyfts to go get groceries or go to their many doctor’s appointments.
This increased cost for travel means difficulties in other areas. “We fell behind on bills like Hydro and Rogers because our money now had to be diverted to other areas that we knew were more pressing, including making sure we did not fall too far behind on rent,” Crystal said.
Adding onto their financial troubles even more, Crystal’s place of work has reduced working hours due to COVID-19 restrictions. Unfortunately, the many times Steven was admitted to the hospital, his dad, Anthony, would also have to miss work to look after his brother, Liam.
Day-to-day necessities have become a challenge, such as buying food or clothing for their growing boys. “Phones have often even been paid late, because we know that the internet needs to be paid first, but then we know that the hospital may need to reach us,” Crystal shared.
Sadly, struggles such as these are problems many families with seriously ill children and facing. In a recent survey sent to families across the country, it was found that 68% of all who participated have had a loss of income during COVID-19.
While parents like Crystal and Anthony focus on the health of their child, our emergency COVID-19 Family Relief Packs take care of everything else. “Supporting programs like Starlight Canada will help put food on a table or a light over our children’s heads,” Crystal shared. “We are truly forever grateful.”