Comox Valley father of premature twins grateful for YANA’s support

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Originally published by the Comox Valley Record, March 06, 2024

Olivier Laurin – Comox Valley Record

In early January, Eric Hansen and his wife Sara left the Comox Valley for Victoria. Three weeks later, they returned home with healthy fraternal twins Eilish and Kinley.

Due to the twins being slightly premature, the couple was advised to give birth in Victoria, as Victoria General Hospital houses a tertiary care facility.

They were on their way to the capital city when they were unexpectedly contacted by You Are Not Alone (YANA), a Courtenay-based not-for-profit that offers financial help to families and pregnant mothers requiring medical help for their children.

Hansen explained that upon their arrival at Victoria General, YANA promptly stepped in to cover all the couple’s expenses and arrange hotel accommodations.

Unsure about how the organization became aware of their situation, Hansen noted that the timing for this assistance couldn’t have been better.

“My family is on the East Coast of Canada and (my wife Sara’s family) is on the other side of the world, so we’re sort of on our own,” he said. “But YANA reached out and gave us the support that we needed, just as a family would. I’m even getting a little bit emotional just thinking about it because it was like a Godsend.”

YANA’s proactive approach ensured that the Hansens were constantly cared for during their stay in Victoria.

The couple explained having spent the first few nights at a hotel near the hospital, before being relocated to an even closer bed-and-breakfast.

Born on Jan. 7, shortly after 11 p.m., the newborn twins required extra attention at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, thus expanding the family’s stay in Victoria. Without delay, YANA facilitated their transfer to a Children’s Health Foundation residence situated within the hospital property.

“We didn’t have to worry about anything, and everything was taken care of,” said Hansen. “I was just astounded by that. They moved us into a better place as soon as they could, and it just seems like they were constantly on the ball with getting us into where we needed to be.”

Reflecting on the experience, Eric expressed numerous times his appreciation for YANA’s unwavering support.

“We never met them before, and they reached out and made everything happen without even meeting us. That’s something that just doesn’t happen anymore,” he said. “This generosity without even meeting someone – when does that ever happen? That kind of experience was priceless.”

A month and a half later, as Eric settles into his new role as a father, he looks ahead with hope and gratitude. While acknowledging that everything still feels a bit surreal, Hansen mentioned that having YANA by their side made their journey easier in countless ways.

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.