Cystic fibrosis has taken away Kelowna resident Kory Bradshaw’s ability to breathe.
So, for the last few months, he and his wife Renee have rented an apartment in Toronto, awaiting word from his medical team that they’re ready to do a long awaited double-lung transplant.
Kory’s at the top of the transplant list, but it’s still a painful waiting game, and his mom Carolyn said they take each day in stride, focusing on the positive.
This week, however, that has been particularly challenging.
The Bradshaw’s home caught fire Tuesday, and was irreparably damaged.
“(Kory) saw it online and texted us, ‘I think our house is on fire,’” said Carolyn.
“I said ‘you’re joking.’ But we went over anyway, and he wasn’t joking.”
Kelowna Fire Department crews, she said, did what they could to save the couple’s precious belongings.
“They were able to retrieve photographs, important papers and Renee’s wedding dress,” she said. But much of everything else has been destroyed.
It’s the type of blow that many would struggle to endure, but the Bradshaws have to keep perspective.
“They’re doing OK,” said Carolyn.
“His situation right now is he can’t get too excited about anything—he needs to concentrate on breathing and he can’t do anything that will cause him anxiety. He only has eight per cent lung function.”
Carolyn has two sons with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the digestive system and lungs, a build up of thick mucus causes severe respiratory problems.
Kory, she said, has always struggled more than her other son, having been in and out of emergency rooms for years.
The support of Renee, however, has been a tremendous asset.
So, too, has been the support of the community since news of their plight became public.
In just a day, nearly $7,000 has been raised.
“We’re amazed. They’re amazed,” said Carolyn.
“It’s very expensive in Toronto, with their rent and they’re looking after their mortgage here. But you can’t make it about the money. You just do it. There’s no other choice.”
A GoFundMe page (gofundme.com/chute-lake-home-lost-medical-fund) sets out their expenses clearly. The apartment costs $2,800 a month, and they also have to pay their mortgage for the home they just lost.
“While their home is insured, the emotional and other financial costs are mounting for this young couple. Please, every dollar helps, don’t think that because you may only be able to give $5 that this won’t make a difference, it will make an enormous difference. The family is struggling every day, air fare, insurance deductible, and the huge rent and utilities they are having to pay in Toronto,” reads a post by Beth Shey, who started the fundraiser.
At 5:23 p.m. Tuesday Kelowna Fire Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a hedge and shed on fire. A second call reported a mobile home fully involved in fire in the 5000 block of Chute Lake Road.
“When Kelowna fire personnel arrived on scene they found a mobile home fully involved in fire,” reads a press release from Tim Shields, platoon captain of the Kelowna Fire Department.
“Winds were fanning the fire making it difficult to extinguish.”
In the end, the home was significantly damaged but some important personal effects were salvaged by fire personnel.
The fire is under investigation.
Kelowna Fire Department responded with three engines, one rescue vehicle, a command unit and a safety truck along with 15 personnel to the scene.