South Surrey preschool supervisor Debbie Back acknowledges no one can know what a parent goes through when a child is sick, but she does know having a strong support system is always appreciated.
That was her reasoning behind organizing a fundraiser three years ago for a White Rock family, whose baby girl was diagnosed with a rare and incurable genetic disorder known as Inclusion-cell (I-cell) disease.
A sibling attended Creative Kids Learning Centre in Rosemary Heights, where Back has worked since it opened three years ago, and when she found out, she was determined to do something.
The effort helped bring together the community and raise much-needed funds for Canuck Place hospice, which provided help to the little girl and her family on their journey through to her passing earlier this year.
“No one knows what a parent is going through. You have no idea what you would do in that situation,” Back said. “I’m happy to bring people together for such an important cause. I would love to know that if I was in that situation, people would do the same for me.”
This year, the fundraiser will benefit six-year-old Keian Blundell, who was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Despite a bone-marrow transplant on April 5, Keian’s aggressive leukemia returned.
The Blundells – who sold their home and moved into a trailer onsite at BC Children’s Hospital – are currently residing in palliative care at Canuck Place.
Despite the onslaught of treatment he has had to endure, Back noted that Keian – a huge fan of superheroes – has maintained a positive outlook, and even organized a toy drive for BC Children’s Hospital.
After hearing about the Langley family’s story, Back began pouring her energy into drumming up financial and community support for them.
“When we decided to do (the fundraiser) again this year we knew about Keian and thought he would be a great focus, so we can give to the family,” she explained.
“A lot of the moms were coming in and tearing up and saying, ‘we don’t realize how lucky we are as a family,’ and just knowing their battle and how they’re dealing with it, keeping their spirits up, even though this is tearing them apart.”
The fundraiser will be held Nov. 23 at the Creative Kids Learning Centre, 115-15350 34 Ave., and will feature 20 vendors, include local artisans.
Tickets ($5) can be purchased at the centre.
All cash donations on the night of the fundraiser will go directly to Keian’s family, proceeds from item sales will go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.