CAMPBELL RIVER — Danielle Girard says support has been ongoing since daughter Anabelle arrived early on Christmas Eve.
Due on March 21, Anabelle was born when Danielle suffered complications and went into early labour. After being transported by air ambulance, she gave birth naturally at Royal Columbian Hospital. Her new baby weighed just two and a half pounds.
Such a sudden turn of events could have devastated this self-employed young family, who are now down more than half their income. Danielle, a qualified school teacher, has a successful Partylite business and father Yannick has a construction and renovation company.
Two older siblings, Miko, 7, and Rosalie, 4, are being cared for by dad or Danielle’s mother, who has taken time off her work in Alberta to come to help out the family.
“The children are not allowed into the neonatal intensive care unit so they have not seen the baby, and I have only seen them twice since Dec. 23,” said Danielle, who has to reassure them every night that they will be back together soon.
After more than two weeks not being able to hold her baby, Danielle got the chance last weekend.
“Her little body against mine, she felt like a feather,” Danielle said. “A little touch of heaven here on Earth. She has that baby smell, and I love it. At one point she put her arm up as if she was hugging me.”
Danielle said the community support has been “overwhelming.” école Mer-et-montagne, where their son attends Grade 2 and Rosalie is in pre-school, held a bottle drive for us and raised $145.
The Variety Club has helped out the family with the first month’s hotel costs. Other donors include Camryn’s Cause, Christian Life Fellowship Church, Wish Want Wear consignment, and Hugginz By Angel, a non-profit business run by a young woman with Down syndrome who sews hospital friendly pyjamas, knitted hats and cuddle blankets for newborns.
“We just heard that B.C. Ferries has offered us one round trip for the family which is worth about $200,” said Danielle. “And we have received gift cards with lovely messages on them, to Thriftys, where I buy food to cook at the little kitchenette here, Subway, gas for Yannick and my mom to travel here, and the fundraising link set up by my wonderful friend Ludy Mennie, who also runs the Facebook page ‘Blessing the Girards on the Arrival of Baby Anabelle Girard Duplain’ collected $1,200 in the first 24 hours of being on line.”