Roses for Rachael
Rachael Turner’s 15th birthday is one she will never forget. Just six days prior, the Kamloops teen was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), a chronic and life-limiting illness that mainly affects the digestive system and lungs.
Rachael spent two weeks at BC Children’s to learn about her new life with CF. There currently is no cure, but she manages the disease through physiotherapy twice daily and by following what she calls a “dream diet” of high salt, high fat and high calorie foods.
During the teen’s stay at the hospital, she was also diagnosed with a severe allergy to Aspergillus, which – in addition to CF – was causing a lot of her lung problems. In her first year of being diagnosed, Rachael was admitted to BC Children’s four times for pulmonary function tests, which measure how well her lungs are working.
Although the diagnoses have been difficult for Rachael, she is grateful for her family and friends who have helped her along the way. The dramatic changes to her lifestyle have not come easy. “There have been many times when I fight my mom because I don’t want to do physiotherapy, but she keeps reminding me every day that slowly but surely it is making me better,” Rachael says.
Today, the Grade 11 student remains positive by thinking about the good things in her life – family, friends, and her recent trip to Ottawa for “Encounters with Canada,” a nation-wide forum for youth ages 14 to 17 to discover Canada and share their hopes and dreams.
She is also receiving support from her home community. When Ernie Cordonier, the manager of Cooper's Foods in Kamloops, heard about her story, he decided to fundraise for BC Children's by selling roses in honour of Rachael.
Watch the story on Roses for Rachael:
DID YOU KNOW…? In 2013, 695 children from Kamloops made 1,989 visits to BC Children’s Hospital for specialized care and treatment.
Child Health BC, an initiative of BC Children’s Hospital, supports physician visits from nine clinical areas – including cystic fibrosis – to communities across BC, covering expenses for nurses, dietitians and therapists. These visits help to ensure children with complex conditions, like Rachael, continue to receive proper care. They also spare families the expense and inconvenience of an often long trip to Children’s Hospital. Thanks to Child Health BC, children from across the province are benefiting from access to the specialized care they need, closer to home.
Overwaitea Food Group is the lead benefactor of Child Health BC with a pledge of $20 million.