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Letter: North Vancouver's generosity brought me to tears

A supportive school program and community funds for a therapy dog prove that ‘rare gems of human kindness’ still exist, this letter writer says
A North Vancouver mother says she’s overwhelmed by the support her family has received as they work to get a therapy dog for her daughter. | BC Children’s Hospital

Dear Editor:

I’m feeling happy because I live in a world where despite some terrible things happening, there are still some absolutely rare gems of human kindness present. It made me want to share this story with you.

My daughter Hannah and I are from Calgary, and we moved to North Vancouver for a fresh new start. My daughter is suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and mast cell activation disorder. CFS is likely due to a viral illness like mono or COVID-19, and the MSAD is due to genetics.

Hannah has a struggle making it to school every day, but the insanely wonderful groups in the Seycove Secondary choices program make it possible for Hannah to continue going every day. Hannah describes her illnes as, “Ya know when you have the flu and you wake up to use the washroom and you are all dizzy and gross feeling?”

Now imagine living that for two years. The Seycove program provides a safe space for her to go when overwhelmed with anxiety or fatigue or dizziness. They take her on walks when her skin is burning and flushing so she can focus on something else. They are quite literally a miracle, and I am so grateful to this team.

Recently, my daughter’s pediatrician mentioned that he’s seen some success with psychiatric therapy service dogs. We went to visit the very fabulous team at Valley Canine. They specialize in pairing kids like Hannah with a service dog. These dogs encourage activity, will help Hannah at school with managing panic attacks and dizzy spells. Seeing Hannah playing with the dogs was the first time I’ve seen her genuinely happy in close to a year.

We had to start a Gofundme campaign as it costs upwards of $25,000 dollars to train a dog for this speciality. I woke up the next day with more than $4K in donations from my fabulous North Vancouver community. I didn’t stop crying the whole day – not a good look for work. 😉

Rebecca Watt
North Vancouver