When Deanna Wood from Ask Dee Florals sent a message to her clients on Facebook that she’d be shut down indefinitely to focus on her son Reggie’s recently discovered ailment, she wasn’t doing so to ask for help.
That didn’t stop the Clearwater community from rallying together behind her, however, and now she says she’s overwhelmed by the show of support.
“I’ve been weeping for two days. I never expected this,” Wood said, after the 100 People That Care group raised more than $6,000 in an hour to help the family with medical expenses.
“Shelley (Sim, organizer for 100 People That Care) approached me and asked if she could advocate for us and I was really uneasy. I’m usually the one donating. It’s hard to take help. It’s easier to help than it is to take help.”
Wood’s son Reggie, who turned 8-years-old in April, was diagnosed shortly after his birthday with Perthes disease, a rare childhood condition that affects the femur (thighbone).
She said she noticed something was off with Reggie about a year ago, which led to several trips to the doctor’s office.
“I just started noticing he didn’t look right. He was really pale and then around Halloween he started limping really badly, so I took him to the doctor for the third time,” Wood said, adding the doctor sent them away with a requisition for x rays and a referral to a pediatrician.
“I just knew something was wrong.”
The Wood family got an appointment with a pediatrician in March who realized it was Perthes though the new diagnoses didn’t seem that bad at first glance when Wood looked up information on the disease, as many children are able to overcome it without surgery.
It wasn’t until she talked to a surgeon at the Children’s Hospital that she realized it was more serious than she had first thought.
It turns out Reggie’s case is a bit more extreme than usual cases, and without surgery, he’d be confined to a life of little activity for three years, which would be next to impossible for a kid his age.
“Basically his left femoral head is like jelly, it’s deteriorating. So they have to do a five-hour surgery where they tilt the femoral head back into the socket and hopefully it’ll set. Then the femoral head will grow back,” said Wood, adding Reggie is scheduled to go for surgery on July 9 and is expected to have a recovery period of about a year.
“Going through COVID, that was my go-to: ‘Go outside and play,’ now I have to tell my son who’s a gymnast, loves running, jumping, biking, skiing, and snowboarding — you name it he does it — not to run or jump.”
During recovery, Reggie won’t be allowed to bear weight on his leg and will have to use a wheelchair for possibly up to a year.
Wood is already brainstorming fun activities for her son to take part in where he won’t have to put stress on his femur, while other kids in the community are playing, skiing, skating and doing all the fun stuff children do.
“If anyone could help think of different things to make his life a little bit more bright and fun, that doesn’t include running or jumping, maybe even just being around farm animals, different things to help make him feel special,” Wood said, adding with a chuckle that Reggie is already making use of a stationary lifestyle.
“I asked him if he could learn an instrument, what would be his instrument of choice? And he picked the piano. So then our neighbour dropped off a keyboard and another neighbour came over and taught him a couple of notes and I said to him, if you come out of this a musician, that’s a beautiful thing.”
Anyone who wasn’t able to make it to Buy-Low on June 4 where 100 People That Care were bringing in donations, but would still like to lend some support, can contact Shelley Sim at firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at 250-674-1968.
At the 100 People That Care event Sim said, “I think we’re tremendously grateful to live in a community that gives and this is proof positive. With the financial costs that the family is facing, a business having to close down, they have two other kids at home, it’s just not easy, but this community is going to make it easy.”
Wood added she can’t thank Clearwater and area residents enough for the donations and that the funds raised will help immensely with Reggie’s medical costs.