In fall of 2015 we held a contest open to our whole community. We wanted to give someone, that might not have been other wise able to go, the chance to join us in Costa Rica at our Adventure and Wellness Retreat. Many people entered but when Kelly shared her story, the community opened their hearts and were adamant that Kelly deserved to go. Some people didn’t even enter because of what Kelly had been through, and the strength and courage she showed to share her story. Now in two months, she will be joining us for a week of adventure, wellness and healing at our Chakra Lodge.
Here is Kelly’s story:
10+ years with too many lows.
It took my love, Jason, and I a couple years to get pregnant with our first little girl, but when we did finally conceive, we bumped up our wedding date so we could be married before she came into the world. That shift might have been the start of a series of crazy events.
Our wedding was planned for Mexico in October 2005, we thought we were out of any crazy weather patterns, but to our surprise on day 3 of celebrating with our family under the hot sun, there was something big brewing off shore. Hurricane Wilma decided to visit. Most of our guests were shuttled out the morning after our dual stag, while myself, Jason, my parents, brother and Jason’s aunt & cousin stayed behind to weather the storm. What a cool thing to go through, we thought…after 3 days of the category 5 hurricane, we finally pulled our belongings together and made our way back to Canada. No wedding to be had, but we must have had some other forces working with us, as we had a ‘quickie’ wedding a few days before we left on our trip.
To our delight, our daughter Jolie came into the world on March 24th,2006. A little early at 5 weeks premature, but after 15 days in the NICU, all 5 pounds of her finally got to come home. We were over the moon as new parents.
Skip forward 2 years… I wasn’t planning on having a big birthday for her, as what would she really remember from it? But a couple days before her birthday I woke with this fierce passion to give her the biggest & best party, so I proceeded to make this happen. She loved the movie ‘Shrek’ so that was the theme, lots of little ones with Shrek ears and buckets of bugs. Adorable. A month after, on April 28th, our world crashed down around us. Jolie was rushed to the hospital and died within hours. We were crushed, confused and just lost as to what had happened. We had found out that she had contracted Bacterial meningitis, a rare form that was not covered by her vaccinations.
In 2009 & 2011 we were blessed with 2 more beautiful daughters, Livi and Ciarra, and our life was back on track. ( After much therapy and soul searching ) We had been through some testing with the girls at BC Children’s Hospital and thought we had covered all our bases, little did we know what we were up against.
I will mention that BC Children’s Hospital is our main charity that we have been contibuting to since 2008, and have raised over $85,000 so far.
Life was going along as normal as can be, we were doing all the typical toddler activities and enjoying our lives. Canada Day weekend 2014 was spent at the grandparents cabin on the lake. We had such a great weekend with friends and family together.
The morning of July 1st, we had nocticed that Ciarra had gotten sick in her bed in the middle of the night. I tried not to freak out, as this was the same as to what happenend to Jolie. Actually almost all the event in the next couple hours were eerily similar to Jolie’s last hours. We were not close to BC Children’s Hospital by a couple hours, so we rushed her to the 100 mile hospital down the road. Only with in hours we were rushed by plane to the coast and BC Children’s. But her life could not be saved and she, at age 3, was taken from us as well.
Ciarra was diagnosed with the exact same Bacterial meningitis as her sister, this is very strange, as there are so many types of meningitis. Since then, our family has been tested and retested to find what out if our remaining daughter Livi would sucome to the same fate as her sisters. But no, she is safe from this.
The reason behind all this tragedy in our family is due to my husband and I having faulty immune gene’s. The immune deficiency we have is called IRAK-4 and it’s inherited. Both Jolie and Ciarra had double copies of this gene, Livi thankfully only has the one and will lead a happy healthy life now as a single child.
We are slowly picking up the peices and rebuilding our little family once again. We are very alone in our story and no one I know can even fathom understanding what we have been through. Again lots of soul searching and looking for answers as to why us.
I am so thankful to have Jason by my side. Through thick and thin, sickness and health and till death do us part, Jason will always be my rock and me his.
I am happy to have been given this amazing opportunity to join the ladies of Run Like a Girl on their adventure retreat in Costa Rica in March. I know my soul needs this and I look forward to every second of this retreat. I hope connect with new people, push past a few barriers and comfort zones and possibly a little healing too. Thank you Dayna, Hailey & Courtney for allowing me to share my story.