N.B. family seeks help while struggling to care for sick child
Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013 1:24PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:06PM AST
A New Brunswick couple is facing the financial burden of living in two places while making weekly trips to the IWK Health Centre.
Their 16-month-old son Rowen was born with a birth defect and has spent his entire life at the children’s hospital in Halifax.
“My son was born with gastroschisis, where his bowel was on the outside,” explains Katie Wright.
Rowen has had 11 surgeries and is poked, prodded and examined by doctors daily. His parents have never been able to bring him home and he will spend Christmas in the hospital.
“Not knowing no end of when he is going to be better, and raising a son in the hospital is actually pretty hard,” says his father. Travis Tomah.
“It’s very stressful. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Wright and Tomah live in Woodstock, which is more than a five-hour drive from Halifax.
Every Monday they drive to Halifax and spend the week with Rowen. On Friday, they return home to be with their other son Riley.
“We didn’t expect to be here this long. When we found out that he was gastro, they told us two to three months and here it is, 16 months later, and they’re telling us it will still be a long time yet,” says Wright.
In addition to the stress of raising a sick child, the family is facing the financial strain of living and travelling 500 km between their home and the hospital.
“We’ve had disconnection notices. Our phones have been shut off, but luckily they hooked them back up because of our situation,” says Wright.
“They hooked them back up because we need a phone, you know, in case anything was to happen.”
“It’s kind of hard but we do have help,” says Tomah. “It’s just not enough.”
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, the couple had raised almost $5,000 online but they need a minimum of $6,000 to survive until they can bring Rowen home.
“It will just make us a stronger family in the end, I guess,” says Tomah.
The family will likely spend at least six more months travelling to the IWK.
They are hoping that, with a little help, they will be able to focus solely on their son’s health, and not have to worry so much about money.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl
Rowen Tomah was born with a birth defect and has spent his entire 16 months at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. (CTV Atlantic)