Fundraiser helps ill youth play the waiting game

Young patient aims to make hospital time more comfortable

12-year-old Langford resident Cassandra Campbell is working towards raising $1

Anyone who has ever spent time in a hospital knows it involves a lot of waiting.

For youth, who are used to constant contact with friends and technology, the wait can feel like forever.

That’s how 12-year-old Cassandra Campbell felt when she had to recently spend time in Victoria General Hospital’s paediatric unit. She said there wasn’t much around to keep someone her age entertained and distracted from the upsetting circumstances.

“I noticed there wasn’t many books or movies or much up to date for my age, and if there was it would be from like 2008,” said Cassandra, a Grade 7 student at Dunsmuir middle school in Colwood.

Cassandra has struggled the past two years with intracranial hypertension disorder, which causes excess fluid around the brain. She was also recently been given a working diagnosis of heredity hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a disorder which forms abnormal blood vessels.

Her ailments have caused her to miss class and sent her to the VGH emergency ward. She also had two short stays in hospital, during which she often found herself waiting for doctors, test results and more.

“The staff there was phenomenal,” Cassandra said. “I understand they tried their hardest to keep me entertained and I understand they don’t have the resources to get new movies or up-to-date stuff.”

After her most recent stint in hospital she decided to undertake raising $1,000 to buy an iPad for the unit. It would have a special case to help keep it clean and be loaded with new movies teenagers would enjoy, such as Frozen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hobbit. Any excess funds will go towards gift cards for patients to download other movies and apps.

The support so far from friends, family and the community has been impressive, said Cassandra and her mother, Kim Campbell.

“As soon as I told my all my friends … they were all like ‘I want to help, here’s some money,’” Cassandra said. “It was awesome.”

“Absolutely phenomenal support in providing opportunities for her,” Kim said. “For me, it shows what a great community we’re involved in and how supportive (it is) to people within it.”

Cassandra is hosting a car wash at Jenn’s Little Bears Early Childhood Education Centre (623 Kelly Rd.) this Saturday (May 3) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friends and family are helping wash cars, which can be purchased for a minimum $5 donation. There will also be cookies for sale.

An arts-related fundraiser for Cassandra’s campaign happens Sunday at 4Cats Art Studio (2285 Bellamy Rd.) in Langford. For $25 per person, participants will be taught to create a clay portrait, which is displayed on a painted background. To register call 778-430-5422 or contact Kim at 250-888-1513.

Donation jars are also being set up at local businesses, and donations can also be made at CIBC to account 01630 010 5504589.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com