Irene Stevenson-Rufus, 13, was admitted to the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on Feb. 16 after an emergency MRI at the Campbell River hospital. Photo courtesy Krisandra Rufus

Grassroots Kind Hearts founder asking for support after daughter hospitalized for spinal infection

GoFundMe set up to help with expenses arising from medical emergency

Krisandra Rufus, the founder of the Grassroots Kind Hearts Society, is asking for support from the community after her daughter was diagnosed with a spinal cord infection.

Irene Stevenson-Rufus, 13, was admitted to the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on Feb. 16 after an emergency MRI at the Campbell River hospital. The infection has damaged two vertebrae, and the family is waiting to find out if it has affected other parts of Stevenson-Rufus’s body.

“I’m just hoping she’s going to be able to fully recover from what’s happened,” Rufus said.

Stevenson-Rufus will remain on antibiotics for another four weeks and may have to stay in Vancouver for six weeks, Rufus said.

She’s hoping that members of the community will help offset costs arising from the emergency, beyond what’s covered by charities and other resources.

Jodi Boyd, a friend of Rufus, set up a GoFundMe page to benefit the family earlier this week. It had raised $250 by Thursday night.

Rufus noted that it’s rare for her to be on the receiving end of that kind of support.

“I don’t normally ask for help,” said Rufus. “I’m usually on the other hand helping everybody else.”

In 2015, Rufus founded Grassroots Kind Hearts, which provides support to people struggling with poverty in Campbell River.

Its services include a soup kitchen that provides a daily hot meal for poor or homeless people. The group also provides clothing and other items and helps homeless people get off the streets.

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Rufus said she has applied for resources including funds from Cameryn’s Cause, a Campbell River-based charity that supports families with children experiencing medical emergencies.

She has also applied for the B.C. Family Residence Program, which provides financial assistance to out-of-town families at the hospital. She’s currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodations for families of seriously ill children.

But expenses including gas, ferry tickets and food expenses have added up.

“It’s not cheap,” Rufus said, noting that as well as her sick daughter, she has five other children to suppport.

In a statement on the GoFundMe page, Boyd encouraged people to pitch in.

“Let’s show her really how kind-hearted our community can be,” she said.


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