Prince Rupert parents Shawna McKay and Darrel Brown are turning to the community to help offset medical costs for their newborn daughter, Katelyn.
Brown and McKay welcomed Baby Katelyn on Dec. 6, who was born with a unilateral cleft lip and a hole in her palate.
The new parents recently returned from a medical trip to Vancouver to attend a consultation at B.C. Children’s Hospital for an upcoming corrective surgery for Katelyn.
The family will have to travel down south once again on March 31 for a pre-anesthetic clinic prior to Katelyn’s first surgery on April 1.
While McKay is receiving coverage from Nisga’a Valley Health to cover expenses, Brown has not been successful in finding funding. The couple hopes they can raise enough money for Brown to be able to come to Katelyn’s surgery.
McKay said the thought of Brown not being present for the medical procedure makes her anxious.
“I really need him to be there to help out with her,” she said.
“I can’t clam her down, but daddy clams her down quite well.”
The family needs to raise as much as possible, as they don’t have any relatives or friends to stay with in Vancouver and will have to stay in a hotel for the duration of the trip.
“In all, [it was about $1,400 for our last trip]. That’s just for two days,” said Brown.
For the upcoming trip, the family will have to stay in Vancouver for approximately nine days as Katelyn will remain in the hospital for two days following her surgery and gets her stitches out on April 7.
“We have to go back two weeks after surgery for a check-up. The cleft team (will reassess her) … They determine how many other surgeries she will need,” explained McKay.
The family said all of the travel expenses will put a serious strain on their finances.
“After we pay rent and bills, there’s really not a heck of a lot left afterwards,” said Brown, noting they also have an eight-year-old child at home.
“They had to stretch [their money] for them to go down on the one trip,” added Craig Dundas, Katelyn’s grandfather.
Dundas created a profile on the personal fundraising website GoFundMe, with the family turning to the community for assistance. McKay and Brown said any donations would be helpful and greatly appreciated.
To donate, visit Baby Katelyn’s GoFundMe fundraising page at https://www.gofundme.com/n70x6g.