100 days in Victoria for Comox Valley family – YANA was there the entire way

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, March 27, 2024

Terry Farrell – Comox Valley Record

It was week 23 when Joseph Jones and Emily Johnston first found out there were complications with Emily’s pregnancy. Emily was diagnosed with placental dysfunction.

“Basically, her blood pressure was too high and it was calcifying the placenta, so the blood was not getting through it to give any nutrients,” said Joseph. “Week 23 we found out and we were in the hospital by the beginning of week 24.”

Bromley Johnston-Jones was born on April 3, 2023, at week 28, weighing only 694 grams.

“He was the youngest baby born that year,” said Joseph. “One and a half pounds.”

The parents shared different emotions once Bromley was born.

“I felt affirmation, in making the correct choices that we made, to help him have the best options,” said Emily. “But honestly I kind of compartmentalized my feelings and emotions because our condition was so critical. So I really had to focus all my energy on him. So I didn’t have a lot of feelings at the time.”

Joseph felt enough happiness for the whole family.

“I was just overjoyed, to be honest with you,” he said. “From the very beginning, when they said this was happening, I just knew he was going to be just fine. I just had it in my mind from the second they told us. I truly believed nothing was going to be wrong with him; he is going to be just fine. When he came out, yeah he was tiny, but he was just fine. There was nothing wrong with him, other than being a bit small.”

Eight months later, Bromley, Joseph and Emily celebrated their first Christmas together, and Bromley has all the energy and awareness of a typical eight-month-old.

And YANA has been with the family every step of the way.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a community organization offering help to Comox Valley families who need to travel for medical treatment for a child or for a pregnant mother. Its purpose is to improve access to healthcare by providing travel funding and accommodation.

“They reached out to us almost immediately – YANA was just great,” said Joseph. “They found out we needed to stay in Victoria for possibly four months and before we even knew it they had a place for us, they had it all scheduled, rented, money in our bank for food, gas, everything. We couldn’t have done it without them. They did so much.”

“We found out on Friday that we were going to the hospital on Monday, and YANA had already contacted us and everything and were setting up (accommodations),” added Emily.

The family was in Victoria for more than 100 days. With both Joseph and Emily being self-employed, that’s a quick stop to incoming funds, for an extended period. But as Emily pointed out, ‘providing for the family comes in many forms.

“By Joseph being able to be there and help us with all the decisions, he was providing for us,” she said. “Even though he wasn’t working, he was providing for the family with his emotional support.”

Joseph said even the emotional support of knowing they weren’t on their own meant the world.

“Just knowing someone was in our corner, and there to help – it took so much stress away. Not having to find a place to live… it was all just amazing,” said Joseph. “They (YANA) were just saying ‘don’t worry about how long this takes; we are in your corner.’”

As Bromnley approaches his first birthday, Joseph said he’s a typical baby.

“He’s a little small, but everything is perfectly fine. All his organs are fine. His eyesight, his lungs, his brain. His body is at below three per cent so he is still pretty small but his head is at 48 per cent, so he has a huge noggin – a big brain.”

The family still receives help from YANA – last week they had to travel to Victoria for a check-up. YANA helped them with the finances.

The family has also given back to YANA in. various ways.

“We had a dance fundraiser when we got back and donated everything to YANA,” said Joseph. “They are such an important part of our community. It’s a great organization and it is really needed.”


The Valley Vonka – a major fundraiser for YANA, is ongoing in the Comox Valley. Businesses throughout the community are selling chocolate bars (by donation) with the chance to find one of six Golden Tickets inside the bar. A Golden Ticket qualifies the redeemer to one of six grand prizes, values anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.

Chocolate bars are available at:

• Hyland Precast (4552 Cumberland Road, Cumberland)

• Pilon Tools (123 N Island Hwy., Courtenay)

• Margot Rutherford (981 Fitzgerald Ave., Courtenay)

• Mackenzie Gartside (525 Cliffe Ave., Downtown Courtenay)

• Bennett Sheet Metal (741 McPhee Ave., Courtenay)

• Hot Chocolates (368 5th St., Courtenay)

• Peninsula Co-op (Aspen Rodd, Comox)

• Uptown Dental Centre (Comox Mall)

• Harbourview Dental Centre – Comox Ave.

• Arbor Dental Centre (Comox Ave., Comox)

• Pharmasave (Aspen Grove Centre, Comox)

• CSN Reliable (787 Cumberland Rd., Courtenay)

• Bomback & Co (1255 C Cliffe Ave., Courtenay)

• The Flying Apron (Strathcona Plaza, Comox)

• Quality Foods (Comox and Courtenay locations)

• Canadian Tire (Driftwood Mall, Courtenay)

• Old House Hotel & Spa – (17th street, Courtenay)

• Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa – (five minutes south of Royston)

• Blinds & Bubbles Boutique (located in Central Builders)

• Brian Mclean Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Hummer Ltd. (Cliffe Ave., Courtenay)

ª Parker Appliances and More – (29th Street connector, Courtenay)

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a not-for-profit organization in the Comox Valley that helps families who need to travel for medical treatment for their children or a pregnant mother.