A special part of YANA’s service to local families is the apartments. Located on Oak Street within walking distance of Children’s Hospital, these four one-bedroom units are a home away from home for Comox Valley families. The apartments offer a place for families to be together, a place to retreat, prepare meals and to heal.
The apartments have a special volunteer named Jayne, also known as “the apartment angel.” A long-time Vancouver resident and recent retiree, Jayne recalls receiving a call from her daughter who lives in the Comox Valley.
“My daughter asked if I would be interested in volunteering with an organization that assisted families who needed to be in Vancouver for the medical care of a child,” remembers Jayne. “After meeting YANA representatives and seeing the apartments I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Families who arrive in Vancouver by emergency transfer will often meet Jayne when she brings them the keys to the apartment. She helps with all things apartments; checking them between clients, making sure they are clean, ensuring linens are folded and easy to find, taking inventory, restocking necessities, and giving them lots of love.
“The families that use the apartments are under stress and I want to make everything as easy as possible for them,” says Jayne. “I want the apartments to be a welcoming place and to feel like a home.”
Complications around her twin pregnancy forced Kate Ashton and her family to Vancouver three months before her due date. Having only recently relocated to the Comox Valley, without nearby family support, and faced with a very serious condition was incredibly overwhelming, still Ashton says that, “remaining optimistic felt like the only choice.” “The YANA apartment offered my husband and I and our 21-month-old son a normal life while waiting for the birth of our girls,” recalls Ashton.
The twins, Lucy and Abilgail, were born small but healthy much to the relief of their family. The Ashtons continued at the apartments, waiting for the girls to be strong enough to leave the hospital. Abigail’s first night ‘home’ was spent at the YANA apartment. A few days later Lucy was released and the Ashtons were able to return to the Comox Valley.
“Regardless of how long they are here or for what reason,” says Jayne, “the families that stay in the apartments have the common experience of needing to care for a sick child. I feel blessed to be able to help in easing some of that stress.”
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~ Originally published on April 13, 2017 in the Comox Valley Record