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While some parents are busy getting a start shopping for their families for Christmas, mom-of-three Lisa Barrie is just trying to keep her family going. Her son Jeffrey, age 12, is in CHEO fighting to regain a normal life, and the family is living with the unknown. Lisa couldn’t even think about Thanksgiving like most Carleton Place families as she was doing everything to save her boy. Jeffrey remains in hospital at CHEO and is now recovering after spending almost a month in ICU on life support.
On July 2, 2015, Lisa’s oldest son fell gravely ill. He was non responsive and rushed to CHEO where they discovered he had bacterial meningitis and also suffered two strokes. Lisa never knew what roadblocks she was going to face until the only choice she had was being strong. The mother of three is currently facing many challenges. Her doctors are not able to predict how much he will recover, or if he will ever be able to care for himself again.
Being a single mother, times are tough, and the income that once covered the bills and expenses is gone. Her sole source of earning has been cut off, as she left her job to care for her son full time. Since the bills add up quickly, and with limited financial support from her family, she now has to think about the costs of making life accessible for Jeffrey. Lisa is spending as much time as possible at CHEO so she can to learn how to take care of her child and eventually bring him home.
When you have a child you don’t say “I love you” out of habit or conversation, you say it to remind your child they are the best thing that ever happened to you. Lisa talks to Jeffrey constantly in ICU and and tells him,
“Mommy loves you more than anything in this world. Please don’t leave me cause I can’t live without you”.
“I tell him that several times a day.” she said. “Sitting there watching him fight for his life made me feel helpless. Why my child?”
The young mother didn’t know how he would survive this ordeal until the MRI on August 28th. That’s the day she found out the meningitis was fully gone. Imagine waiting for two long months to hear the outcome of your child’s life. When your children are struggling, you want more than anything to help them and to make their pain and struggle go away, but there was nothing Lisa could do to make Jeffrey better.
It’s very difficult for Lisa to talk about the nightmare she has been living with all this time. Disregarding her own emotional needs, she wants to send a positive message to her children, and she often feels alone. Lisa bravely copes by shoving her own feelings aside and concentrates on getting Jeffrey better.
The doctors have assured her that the meningitis is completely gone and he has about as much risk as anyone else for it to come back. But now her child requires around-the-clock care. Lisa now worries that Jeffrey will be prone to strokes, or has thoughts in the back of her mind like any mother that he might get meningitis again. Every time he sneezes she jumps and runs for medical advice.
Lisa tried to explain the magnitude of how she feels. She and her Dad were very close—he was everything to her. When he passed in 2011 it ripped her heart out. She said what happened to her son this year was much more painful than her father’s death.
No matter what she is going through she still has a message to all parents:
“Please hold your children tight.. each day is a gift that should not be taken for granted. We all say to ourselves that it will never happen to me, it only happens to other people. My whole world changed forever on July 2, 2015. I hope with all my heart that you never have to experience what I have been through”.
As a mother, I can’t fathom having a normal child one minute and then the next they can’t even take care of himself. Being told that your child might not have quality of life can be traumatizing to everyone near and dear. But it can and does happen to many families, and now she is faced with the Olympics of parenting.
Together we can make a difference and help bring Jeffrey home. They are now in need of suitable housing which can be modified. They need medical equipment, feeding pump, braces and a lot of other things that are out of reach to most financially. But together we can make a difference for Lisa and her family. Your contribution will help achieve a solution and touch their lives forever.
Seeing your child in pain is the last thing any parent wants to witness, because whatever pain they feel we feel twice as much and we wish the pain was ours. A child’s smile is like a ray of sunshine on a rainy day.
Please donate what you can to make Lisa, Jeffrey, and her family smile again.
A Carleton Place Mom’s plea–Help me bring my son home
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