Parent Cathy Wang can only imagine how vulnerable families are feeling at the heart of the E. coli outbreak at some Calgary daycares.
On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services reported that there were now 310 lab-confirmed cases as well as 21 children who were still in hospital. Meanwhile, 14 patients have been discharged.
“Hearing what they’re going through and reading the articles on how the families are, what the families are going through in the hospital is just, it just makes me feel really helpless,” Wang said.
By the end of the month, the Wang family will be moving into their new home and transferring their son from one daycare to another.
Wang says if the move was one month earlier, her son could have possibly been one of the hundreds of kids that are currently sick with E. coli with him being enrolled to start with Fueling Brains Academy beginning Oct. 1.
“We just missed the whole outbreak,” she says.
Wang says she’s spoken to a number of the parents at the Alberta Children’s Hospital who say that “meal time is the most difficult time for them.”
This has been a motivator for Wang to do what she can to help her future daycare family as they continue to go though a difficult time.
This week she launched a GoFundMe campaign and as of Wednesday, the fundraiser has surpassed $3,300 with money being spent on coffee runs, food, snacks and dozens of Uber Eats gift cards for parents so they don’t have to leave their child’s side.
Wang says it’s not just her group of volunteers that are stepping up, but families all over Calgary.
“It’s really a team effort by everybody, by every parent at the daycare for the parents at the daycare,“ she says.
In a daycare Facebook group, parents have been thanking those who have given their time to help.
One parent writes, “Cathy Wang, thank you so much for coffee! And food! Thank you for the Skip gift card! We are gonna have a pizza dinner this evening at the hospital and feed lots of mouths!! Appreciate you ladies so, so much.”
Meanwhile, another post reads, “to the person who dropped off spaghetti, garlic toast to the children’s hospital, I appreciate you . I haven’t been able to leave the hospital room as I’m alone with my two kids. I have been starving all day! So thank you so much.”
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“When their kids are this young it’s hard for you to leave their side,” says Wang.
“They can’t really get up and get a coffee, can’t really get out and get something to eat because you wanna be by their sides.”
One of the volunteers helping Wang is Helen Williamson who, unlike Wang, has a sense of what the parents are going through in hospital with her daughter also affected by the outbreak.
“It’s just the stress of waiting, stress of blood tests in such a little one, but I didn’t have the fear, I think, as much as these other parents have got,” says Williamson.
Her daughter was never admitted to hospital, but she says the child has spent time in and out of the health care centre over the past couple of weeks for testing.
Williamson says with so many parents still by their child’s side, she was compelled to lend a hand.
“I’ve not had a kid in hospital overnight, but I can just imagine to worry about going out to get food, just having one less worry,” she says.
Anyone wanting to help out can visit the Children Suffering from Daycare E. coli Outbreak GoFundMe page.
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