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For hundreds of families, JoeAnna's House is a lifeline

More than a place to stay

This Thursday (Oct. 14) is the KGH Foundation’s second annual Better Together Day, an opportunity for the community to come together and support families from across the Southern Interior facing some of their darkest days.

A serious accident, a sick child, a baby coming too soon—every year, thousands of families from across the Interior of British Columbia must travel from their homes in order for a loved one to receive life-saving, specialist care at Kelowna General Hospital. And more often than not, these families need affordable accommodation to remain close to their loved one in hospital.

Enter JoeAnna’s House: a home-away-from-home for out-of-town families with loved ones receiving care at KGH. As the region continues to grow and KGH expands its capacity to offer specialized medical treatment, the need for JoeAnna’s House has never been greater.

Around Thanksgiving last year, Troy and Danielle Corbin found themselves with their baby on the way ... nearly six weeks early. Danielle was in premature labour and needed to be transported immediately from their hometown in Nelson to KGH, where their son, Zander, could be delivered under the care of the best neonatal team in the region.

“To watch the love of your life and your unborn child being whisked away, being separated amidst so much uncertainty, it was so hard,” recalls Troy, emotionally.

Despite the pandemic, pre-term babies, serious accidents and life-altering medical crises continue. Families like the Corbins, who must travel to Kelowna to support their loved ones, are under more strain than ever.

Danielle was transported to Castlegar airport, then Trail, and finally, by air ambulance to KGH. Troy followed on his own. They were separated for hours while in transit. Two days after Zander was born, Danielle was discharged. Again, the Corbins faced uncertainty.

“But then they told us there was a place for us at JoeAnna’s House,” says Danielle.

Waking up at JoeAnna's House, finally, there was peace,” adds Troy. “We knew we were in a safe place. It felt like home.”

JoeAnna’s House is conveniently located just steps from KGH and provides accommodations for families like the Corbins, a place to rest and recharge, a place to be in community with others who are navigating a similar path.

As the leading referral hospital for up to one million residents in the B.C. Interior, at any given time one out of every four beds at KGH is occupied by someone outside the Central Okanagan.

They come from towns and communities from across the province—from Williams Lake to Osoyoos and Grand Forks to Golden, spanning a region the size of Scotland and England combined.

For so many families wanting to maintain a presence at KGH for the period of their loved ones treatment, the travel and lack of affordable short-term accommodation in Kelowna adds significantly to their hardship. The financial drain and emotional burden during an already difficult time is overwhelming. Being able to stay at JoeAnna’s House is their lifeline.

Since October 2017, compassionate individuals, community organizations and businesses have worked together to build and support JoeAnna’s House, which relies solely on the generosity of the community for its continued operation.

“Giving on Better Together Day helps change everything for these families,” says Darlene Haslock, manager at JoeAnna’s House. “(Those who stay) are so incredibly grateful. And we know patients recover faster when their loved ones are close to them. The impact of giving to JoeAnna’s House is really immeasurable.”

Tune into Beach Radio 103.1 and 104.7 The Lizard, the local Pattison radio stations, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to hear first-hand stories from JoeAnna’s House guests and learn more about how giving on Better Together Day has such meaningful impact.

There are many ways the community can get involved.

• Give a gift online at joeannashouse.com

• Give in person. Drop by JoeAnna’s House at the corner of Royal Avenue and Abbott Street.

• Donate at the till of your local Save-On-Foods.

• Pick up a drive-thru breakfast with coffee, courtesy of Save-on-Foods from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at JoeAnna’s House. (Minimum $5 donation) Enter onto the alley off of Abbott Street.

• Join the Corporate Challenge! Many local businesses and trades are already issuing fundraising challenges. Make a gift, share your support, and encourage others you know to do the same.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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