Help when it’s needed most

Lee Family Medical Imaging Department
Teck Acute Care Centre,
BC Children’s Hospital
Oct. 26, 2022, 9:30 PM

“My little guy Atticus is 5 and he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disorder, in September of 2022. Today we came to BC Children’s to get an MRI done, but Atticus has a very big fear of needles. The nurse was an absolute angel—instead of a needle, she gave him the option of using what they call a ‘sleepy mask’ and let him choose the scent of the gas. She also allowed him to draw on the mask, which changed his whole mood—and mine! He was so calm by the time they took him back that he held his own mask to fall asleep.”

—Brittney, Atticus’s mother

Picture this: your child is suffering from excruciating pain and you need to go to BC Children’s Hospital. Perhaps you live hours away and need to travel. Once you arrive in Vancouver, unexpected costs begin to pile up for daily needs like meals and accommodations.

Hundreds of vulnerable families who require care at BC Children’s each year face these very challenges. For many, their financial hardships are further intensified by the fact that they have no support system to rely on.

Within the hospital’s walls, there’s a lifeline for these families. The social work team moves quietly behind the scenes, supporting those in need with emotional supports and simple—yet critical—resources. Powered by the generosity of donors, they provide a range of supports including parking passes, gas cards, grocery vouchers and at-home medical supplies to those who need them most.

The social work team at BC Children’s Hospital sees first-hand how donations help support patients and families with the cost of medications, nutritional supplements, feeding supplies and other essential needs critical to a child’s health.

“Families are too often faced with difficult decisions when a child requires medical attention and unexpected costs arise,” said Christene Buchanan, Interim Professional Practice Leader at BC Children’s Social Work Department. “Without the generosity of donors, many families would miss urgent critical appointments as they face barriers like transportation costs and the high costs of medications. In addition, parents without these vital financial supports have chosen to forego their own meals in order to be at their children’s bedsides.”

In the past year, teams across BC Children’s have made connections with over 450 families. More than 400 grocery store vouchers were provided while their child received care and over 250 gas vouchers were given to help ensure families could travel to their medical appointments. These seemingly small acts of generosity have made an incredible difference in alleviating stress when the unimaginable happens. And most of all, it’s helped parents focus on what matters most: the health of their child.


Connections with over 450 families

More than 400 grocery store vouchers provided

over 250 gas vouchers given

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2023 issue of Shine magazine.

Shine Spring 2023 | Download the PDF

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