Wetaskiwin and area residents have united for a common goal, “Mending Mikayla” and the response is overwhelming. As of Monday morning on the Mending Mikayla website set up for fundraising, it showed $78,820 had been reached of the $210,000 goal.
Mikayla Curran of Wetaskiwin was like any other happy and active 11 year old girl until just over a year ago when the symptoms of a pineal cyst began to cruelly rob her of her quality of life. Symptomatic Pineal Cysts are very rare, some of the debilitating symptoms that Mikayla suffers from are daily headaches, fatigue, anxiety, extreme mood swings, sporadic double vision and sporadic blindness. As difficult as it is to imagine any child dealing with these symptoms, imagine watching your child suffer daily.
Due to the rarity of Symptomatic Pineal Cysts there are only a few neurosurgeons who perform the preferred and much safer, less invasive technique to remove these benign tumours. Unfortunately this surgery is currently not available in Alberta. With no options at home, Sheldon and Angela Curran looked over the border for a solution for their daughter. They found neurosurgeon Dr.Kim in Houston, Texas and the surgery can be done in June.
Now the real battle begins, because the surgery is in Texas, AHC does not cover it. There is an application process available to apply to have the surgery covered through the Out Of Country Health Services Programs. The process can be lengthy and has no guarantees. If a family decides they can’t wait any longer for surgery and gets it without pre- approval they are exempt from applying for reimbursement of the cost of the surgery. Other families in Alberta have applied to have the same procedure covered, only to be denied although one family has been reimbursed for it.
Unwilling to wait any longer the Curran family is now facing the burden of raising $210,000 to cover the costs of surgery, travel and recuperation time required before Mikayla can travel after the surgery.
Speaking about the Curran family’s situation and the application process with Health Minister Fred Horne by phone, he says “I can’t provide the reassurance today that the family is looking for. I don’t make the decisions, but I have taken the steps to make sure that they know how to apply and try to ensure that it’s moved through as quickly as possible.” MLA Verlyn Olson adds,” Our hearts go out to Mikayla and her family. Hopefully, she will have a speedy return to good health.”
Wildrose Health Critic, Heather Forsyth, has been in contact with the Curran family and others in Alberta who’ve had the same surgery that Mikayla needs. In a press release she says, “The committee needs to be clear with Mikayla and all Albertans that if you need this procedure done, you’ll be able to get it done and you won’t have to pay out of pocket for it. The fact is, this surgery is not elective at all. It is essential and life – saving. It seems the government is picking winners and losers in health care.” To see the full statement from Health Critic Heather Forsyth and the links in it, go to the Leduc Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer Facebook page.
For further information, or to make donations, visit the Mending Mikayla website. To keep up with fund raising events in the area go to Mending Mikayla and SMILE – Wetaskiwin Facebook pages.