With two young girls facing medical difficulties and a newborn to take care of, parents Shaleena Bola and Garrett Hall have had their hands full.
This, Bola’s uncle Martin Hales said, is why he joined wife Leah in starting a GoFundMe campaign to help support the young family.
With various people reaching out to offer their support, he said the online campaign has offered a place for him to direct them.
Although Bola and Hall were busy between medical appointments in Winnipeg during the weekend, a GoFundMe campaign write-up they helped draft outlines the medical journeys of their children, Aria and Brie.
At 18 months of age, Aria’s left eye began going inward and her sense of balance worsened.
"Her crawling turned into her just dragging her legs behind her and finally to not being able to move."
A visit with a Brandon pediatrician resulted in an emergent referral to the Children’s Hospital at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on Nov. 24.
Now coming up on two years of age, Aria has had various tests done since first displaying difficulties, but nothing to date that has led to a clear diagnosis. The family is now concerned a diagnosis might require a trip to the SickKids hospital in Toronto or the Mayo Clinic team in the United States.
The parents’ other girl, Brie, 4, developed a lump on her left cheek just below her ear before Christmas.
An ultrasound on Dec. 28 resulted in an emergent referral to a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg, where she was later diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer.
Brie now requires ongoing treatments every two weeks in Winnipeg for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Bola gave birth to the couple’s third child, Cole, on Jan. 7.
As of Sunday, the "Help Aria get a diagnosis and Brie fight cancer!" GoFundMe campaign had surpassed its $10,000 goal, hitting $10,240 after only four days.
"That’s very good to see, and humbling to see — how much people care and they might not even know them," Martin said.
Funds raised in excess of their initial goal would still go toward helping the family in the purchase of special devices to assist in Aria’s mobility, travel costs, lost wages and various other expenses that might arise.
"We really appreciate every word of prayer or encouragement or support," Leah said. "With people sharing the story, maybe we’ll be able to get a diagnosis for Aria and support the family."
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB