A very good friend of mine is going thru a very rough time right now I'm asking you all to read this and if there is any chance anyone is able to help out please get in touch with me! i would not ask for anything like this if it wasn't something important but this is someone i am very good friends with and i know how hard of a time she has been having.
THEY ARE LOOKING FOR MONEY DONATIONS IF YOU CAN HELP PLEASE CONTACT ME. SHIRLEY SAID EVERYTHING FROM BEDS TO COUCH AND KITCHEN TABLE SET HAS TO BE NEW SO I THINK MONEY WOULD BE THE BEST BET TO GIVE THEM TO START OUT NEW.
Shirley Rennick-Daigle and her seven-year-old daughter Jennessa hope to be home for the Christmas holidays. They've been away for about seven months, battling Jennessa's leukemia with the help of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and the Hospital for Sick Children in TorontoThey're looking forward to being reunited with family, including Rennick-Daigle's 14-year-old son Michael, who's been staying with her brother in Hampton.
They'll be coming home to a new apartment, one they've never seen before. But it won't have any furniture.
The apartment they used to have on the city's East Side had a mildew problem, says Rennick-Daigle, a 32-year-old single mother on income assistance. Mildew covered the bathroom ceiling and was climbing up her bedroom wall, she said during a telephone interview from Halifax.
They put up with it for three years, but Jennessa had a bone marrow transplant in August, so her immune system is suppressed, making her vulnerable to potential infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungus. Doctors said they had to move from the Golden Grove Road apartment.
One of Rennick-Daigle's sisters found them a new, subsidized three-bedroom apartment in the North End. But when relatives went to move the family's belongings, they discovered that after seven months of no one living there, their couch, beds and kitchen chairs were all musty and covered in mildew, she says.
To make matters worse, when they turned over the keys to landlord Shawn McAdam, he said Rennick-Daigle wouldn't be getting her $475 damage deposit back because she hadn't given him the required 30 days' notice in writing.
Rennick-Daigle says she didn't have McAdam's phone number or address, so she had messaged her building's superintendent, Michelle Defazio, on MSN from Halifax to explain the situation. Defazio told her to e-mail the notice to her and she would forward it to the landlord, says Rennick-Daigle. So she did on Oct. 31, she says.
"She didn't give notice, period, to me," says McAdam. "I require verbal or written notice, not e-mail. I don't own a computer."
He said the superintendent has his contact information, and he's also listed in the phone book.
And while Defazio did tell him about Rennick-Daigle's notice, that was only about two-and-a-half weeks ago, he said. "Thirty days' notice is required with month-to-month rent," under the Residential Tenancies Act to give landlords time to find a new tenant.
Defazio could not be reached for comment.
Even if Rennick-Daigle had given 30 days' notice, McAdam says he still would have kept her damage deposit. "There's a full-size candle melted into the carpet, children's stickers all over the walls, all over the light switches, all over the baseboard heating." There's also holes in the walls, he says. "The place was just a proper mess.
"I lose a month's rent, plus all the money I put back into the apartment to fix it up."
McAdam, who's owned the building for 21 years, denies there's mildew in the apartment.
"I know (Rennick-Daigle's) been having some hard times, but a lot of people have hard times in their life," he says. "I don't know what she expects from me. It's got nothing to do with me."
Rennick-Daigle says the wax in the carpet and some of the stickers were already there when she moved in. There aren't any holes in the walls, she said, clearly frustrated.
Christmas was already going to be tight, said Rennick-Daigle, who lives on $900 a month from income assistance, plus a $520 child tax benefit. Now it's going to be even tighter, having to buy new furniture and losing her damage deposit.
But she's determined to somehow get Jennessa the two items on her wish list - an electric guitar and a Furby doll - and Michael some of the Game Boy or Play Station games he loves.
"It's been pretty tough going," she said, fighting back tears.
Jennessa was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood, on May 3. She'd been lethargic and suffering high fevers since about mid-April, said Rennick-Daigle. At first, she assumed her daughter was getting a cold or flu, but eventually took her to the hospital.
Initially, she was diagnosed with a throat infection and then strep throat. When her condition didn't improve, doctors tested for the mumps and that's when they discovered she had leukemic cells.
"She went from almost never being sick to deathly ill," says Rennick-Daigle.
Jennessa went to the IWK the next day and after another week of tests, started three cycles of chemotherapy. "It went surprisingly well," says Rennick-Daigle. "She had very few days where she was very ill."
She did lose all of her dirty-blonde hair, which had grown past her waist, but not before she dyed half of it pink and the other half green - her two favourite colours - and gave braids of it to family and friends. "She dealt with it a lot better than mommy did," Rennick-Daigle says with a laugh.
Jennessa, a Grade 1 student at Forest Hills School, stayed at the IWK until Aug. 10, with her mother at her bedside. "She played tricks on the nurses to pass time and befriended just about anybody who set foot in the unit," says Rennick-Daigle. "She was always on the go."
And if other children weren't taking their medicine, or eating, she'd visit them to try to set a good example, she said.
Then the mother and daughter headed to Toronto, where Jennessa received a bone marrow transplant on Aug. 31. They stayed there until Oct. 9. So Rennick-Daigle, who was supposed to take a government-sponsored apprenticeship course in carpentry in September, to try to get off social assistance, couldn't attend.
By the time they returned to the IWK, Rennick-Daigle noticed Jennessa was having difficulty hearing, a possible side effect of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants. "Every time I spoke to her it was 'What? Huh? I can't hear you.'
"She was getting frustrated enough that she was giving me attitude."
Transplant recipients usually only undergo hearing tests one year post-transplant, but Rennick-Daigle insisted Jennessa be tested. The results showed she suffered severe hearing loss in her right ear and has trouble hearing high pitches in her left.
She got hearing aids on Friday and could be heard testing them out Saturday, singing This Kiss in the background, along with Faith Hill on the country channel.
She complains that they itch, but was happy she got to pick out the colour - pink for the piece that goes inside her ear and green for the piece around the back, said Rennick-Daigle.
Jennessa, whose leukemia is in remission, had been discharged to the Ronald McDonald House for the past few weeks, returning the IWK daily for checkups and one-on-one schooling. Rennick-Daigle was hoping "with any luck, crossing all fingers" to make it home this week.
But Jennessa was readmitted to hospital Sunday with shingles, another common side effect for children who have had chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant. "Now we're unsure when we'll be able to leave the hospital, let alone Halifax," said Rennick-Daigle. She's hoping it will be in time for Christmas.
Jennessa will still have to go back to the IWK every two weeks for tests though because her body could still reject the bone marrow transplant. And she has to live under strict conditions until at least March to avoid infection.
She can't be in big crowds, so she can't go to her new school, Centennial, the mall or even the movies. If she goes out for a walk, she has to wear a mask. Everything she ingests has to be washed down first, including canned goods before they're opened. And she can't have anything with grapefruit in it because it interacts with her medication.
"It's still kinda scary," said Rennick-Daigle. "I just want normalcy back in my life. The greatest thing, for me, will be to have my family together" again.