Brittany was a successful hair stylist for six years when she started noticing numbness and tingling in her left arm and hand. She was passionate about makeup artistry, she played classical piano for 20 years, and has a love of video games as a hobbie. It was 10 months until Brittany would see a doctor after noticing that her arm and hand had started getting weaker. Over time, she noticed her ability to hold a clients hair, grip her hair cutting equipment, and lift her tools had become too difficult for her to perform her job.
Shortly after the loss of function in Brittany's hand and arm, Brittany sought a diagnosis. For months the diagnosis alluded doctors due to the difficulty in testing for the disease, many of the doctors believed that it might be linked to Brittany's dependence on her hands for her hobbies and her work. After nearly a year of testing and doctors visits, she was shocked to discover that her diagnosis was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Lou Gehrig's disease is a degenerative neurological disease that affects the muscles. The brain cells that control muscle function die, thus causing muscle decay, slowly paralyzing its victim. ALS patients will lose the ability to walk, speak, eat, and eventually the ability to breathe. Most patients die within 2 to 5 years within diagnosis.
The only treatment for ALS is a drug called Rilutek that only slows the diseases progression by 10 to 15%.
Brittany's prognosis has been more optomistic than most due to the fact that she is younger. She has a slower progressing form of ALS known as Flail Arm Syndrome that primarily affects her arms, but can spread to the rest of her body.
Five years after her first symptoms Brittany is still fighting the disease and is passionate about living life to the fullest. She has a 5 week old baby with her partner Cole Stephens.
She currently has very limited use of both hands and arms. This leaves her unable to dress herself, bathe herself, prepare food, feed herself, do laundry, or even lift her own baby. Brittany has become nearly completely dependent on the help from her partner and her Personal Support Workers.
Because of the lack of support for disabled parents in Ontario Brittany's only option is to send her newborn baby to full time daycare.
A mother should not be separated from her baby during such a crucial time for bonding and social development in a baby's life. It also makes it very difficult to breast feed or ensure the baby is looked after to the extent that she is comfortable with.
With only one option, this leaves Cole to be the primary care giver for both Brittany and the baby, leaving him unable to work.
Their are government programs available to provide extra hours of assistance that they are applying for, but none that would facilitate Cole's ability to work a full time job.
We are creating this gofundme as a way to relieve the burden of living expenses for the next year while the baby is still very young and in order to give them more time to find a more permanent solution. ￼ ￼ ￼ ￼
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