Cris landed in Canada the night of May 15th. She was more than ready and excited to see her family here and to visit some of the beautiful places that Canada has to offer. She spent the following day at her sister’s house resting so that she can recharge herself for the upcoming festivities. She was so glad how refreshing the air was here. It was super humid and super hot in the Philippines when she left. Unexpectedly, Cris was thrown a curve ball when she suffered a severe stroke on May 17th, less than 48 hours after she arrived. She spent the next 2 days in the ER hallway and 8 days in the stroke unit. Her first Canadian trip was at the hospital. All that feeling of excitement was replaced with feeling scared and vulnerable. From a fancy wedding dress to a hospital gown; delicious wedding food to pureed baby food; spending time with family to nerve racking conversations with doctors and nurses. How did everything change so suddenly? It wasn’t the once in a life vacation experience she was hoping for.
Cris’ stroke was so severe that she suffered from catastrophic damages. Half of her left eye is now dead making her partially blind. The area where the clot that caused her stroke is now dead – it is two thirds of her right brain. She can’t move her left arm at the moment and she struggles to move her left leg. She still has a light swelling in her brain. The Cris who was standing tall and proud when she came here is now bedridden as she is unable to lift her body without the assistance of other people. She now lies in the living room of her sister’s house, dependent on them for everything that she needs such as feeding and cleaning. The only part of Canada that she can see at the moment is a view of one of the busy streets of Mississauga. But despite all the life changing damages and the realization of her stroke, Cris remains mentally strong. She is determined to be able to move all her limbs again. She is holding on to the doctor’s last words to her that with the right amount of therapies, she will be able to regain some function of her left arm and left leg. She tries to find solace and strength from her family back in the Philippines by communicating with them for most of the day using the Facebook video chat messenger.
Cris and her sister not only worry about the physical effect and changes they face due to Cris’ stroke, but also the financial burden. Due to their combined excitement, neither of them purchased travel insurance for Cris. When that was realized the night that she arrived, insurance policies and prices were reviewed. Her insurance was to be finalized and purchased on May 18th, which unfortunately was the day after her stroke. Gina was handed Cris’ hospital bill for over $30,000 for her 10-day stay at the hospital. Cris didn’t get any surgeries; the cost is just to cover the room, doctors’ consults, medicines and some CT scans and X-ray.
When a person usually suffers a physical damage here in Canada from accidents or stroke, they are usually sent to rehab in order to retrain the part of the body that was affected. That wasn’t the case for Cris. She was discharged to her sister who is now her primary care taker. Cris needs plenty of therapy in order to recover. She needs to have follow up appointments with specialists. She needs to have a CT scan in order to monitor the swelling in her brain and to see if she will be allowed to fly back to her family. Both families don’t have enough resources to cover the cost of everything or even half of the things that Cris needs. Cris really needs to start her therapies so that she can retrain her left arm and leg. She needs to be stronger so that she may sit upright again in order to board a plane and go home to her family. She needs the support of any one who is willing to provide it for her. Any money that we can raise will go towards her much needed therapies, appointments and equipment so that we may continue to provide Cris the opportunity to pursue her purpose in life. Her follow up CT scan is this coming June 29th, it is estimated to cost $2,500 for the exam alone, but we are hoping that the doctor has good news for her.
As Mark Zuckerberg said during his recent Harvard speech, "Find the courage to make your life a blessing." Please make your life a blessing to Cris by helping her in any way that you can today. Please donate and or share her story. Let's get her home.
With hope and gratitude,
- Saurav Sarkar
- Alex Jev
- m j
- Anthony Krmek
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