From the outside, it’s just a white, sealed envelope with YANA’s address stamped on the top left.
If you have ever received one from St. Joseph’s staff or given one to a patient, you know that inside these envelopes offer support when it is most needed and represent something very unique and special about the Comox Valley.
“The relief that parents feel when I hand over a YANA emergency funding envelope is palpable,” explains Kelly Phillips, Clinical Coordinator of the Maternal Child Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The enclosed cash and letter provide reassurance for parents in time of incredible stress and uncertainty.”
YANA’s emergency funding is offered to Comox Valley families when a child or pregnant mother needs to be transferred directly from St. Joseph’s Hospital to a medical facility outside the region. The program is administered by frontline hospital staff. More often than not, emergency transfers are unexpected and cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for families concerned for their loved ones.
“Parents are scared, being able to offer them something to show them that they are not alone means a lot,” says Phillips.
Marcie Dumais, Executive Director at YANA, remembers a mother telling her that she climbed into the helicopter wearing a robe and slippers, completely shocked about what was ahead but determined to stay right at her child’s side.
“It is important that we offer some cash as a small cushion to get families through the immediate situation and that we encourage them to connect with us for further funding and accommodation,” says Dumais. “Many of these emergencies result in long periods of time away from home so the invitation to connect ensures families have the support they need.”
Last year, YANA assisted with 46 emergency transfers involving children. The YANA Board of Directors recently doubled the cash gift, a decision that was possible because of tremendous community support.
“The Comox Valley cares about its people. Our emergency funding program is an excellent example of our compassion for one another. We feel privileged to connect families with their loving community,” says Dumais.
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~ Originally published April 20, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record