By Darren Lum
Published Dec. 7 2017
It’s all about giving back for Minden’s Brittany Hewitt.
The 2015 Haliburton Highlands Secondary School graduate has been an outpatient with Sick Kids Hospital ever since she was born with a heart murmur and then later developed premature ventricular contractions causing her heart to skip.
She loved the care from the hospital but knows how expensive it is to be an outpatient at the downtown Toronto-based hospital.
Parking alone can be $20 a day and if an overnight stay is required then the cost could balloon to the hundreds over a weekend. Hewitt saw the difficulty parents faced stressed over their children’s health and the added financial pressures from having to leave work.
As a way to show her appreciation for the great care she received with Sick Kids Hewitt started a gofundme page (www.gofundme.com/sickkids-parent-relief-fund to donate to the SickKids Foundation. She has requested these funds help parents with children in need of care by the hospital.
“I know a lot of families don’t have a lot of extra money when they’re at home so I couldn’t imagine if a child was sick in the hospital [to then] have to worry about the finances” she said.
Although she has a $1000 goal (chosen randomly) any amount raised is helpful and includes the added benefit of raising awareness of the good the foundation does.
According to the SickKids Foundation website the Hospital for Sick Children was started by Mrs. Elizabeth McMaster and “equally forward-thinking women” in 1875. The hospital started because of the numbers when close to half of recorded deaths in Toronto for 50 years prior to 1875 were children under 10.
She never accessed any financial help from the Sick Kids Foundation herself.
Thus far there has been $200 raised through the gofundme effort in 21 days since it started.
“I’m happy with that because $200 is better than nothing” she said.
She feels fortunate her medical attention never really required her to stay overnight.
“I was lucky. We had to pay for the odd day here and there throughout the year while some parents had to spend a lot of money they might not have. I just thought even raising a little bit could help pay for a meal or parking because it isn’t the cheapest down there” she said.
Relative to other hospitals Sick Kids is special for Hewitt.
“It was so warm and welcoming. It didn’t feel like a hospital to me. The nurses … they were so compassionate. Even the waiting rooms were so decorated for kids. It didn’t feel scary” she said.
There was a great attention to make children feel comfortable she adds.
Despite negative comments posted to her Facebook which prompted her to temporarily take the Gofundme link off her page she was bolstered with support and encouragement to continue.
Hewitt appreciated everyone’s positive comments but really found strength in the personal messages and one-on-one meeting with couple John Teljeur and Sonja Marx who also faced negativity when they started the Heat Bank Haliburton County.
“They continued to push through and now they are doing so much good for the community so I thought I would put it back up and hoped I wouldn’t get any more negative responses. If anyone was willing to donate then it was good” she said.