A local family was recently able to bring a little extra light into the life of a front-line worker.
Jessica Corner and her husband, Johnny, have four children, including seven-year-old Tyson, who was born with a heart condition and is missing part of his arm. Through the Barrie family’s participation as a Starlight family through Starlight Canada, they were recently gifted a pair of custom-designed running shoes to their neighbour Libby, who works as a registered nurse at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
“She loved them! She’s wonderful,” Jessica told BarrieToday. “Just being able to give Libby something as a thank-you for working on the front lines, I’m thankful for that. It was something they were able to create.”
The Corners are one of 180 Starlight families across Canada. Starlight Canada works regularly to help provide special experiences and gifts for children who have special needs.
“We’ve done a lot of wonderful things with them. My husband was also a Starlight kid. He’s chronically ill,” said Jessica. “Tyson is cognitively delayed with some physical abnormalities. He’s a very happy boy.”
After COVID hit, the charity switched gears to try to continue providing experiences while respecting pandemic health guidelines.
Over the past month, the Ardene Foundation has provided immunocompromised Starlight Canada children with a personalized way to thank their favourite front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fashion retailer has worked with Starlight Canada to send two pairs of marker-designable shoes to Starlight families; one pair to keep for themselves, and one pair to customize and send to a health-care provider.
The Corner family decided to send his extra pair of shoes to Libby, his next door neighbour and Barrie hospital nurse.
“The kids really enjoy her. Every time she comes home from work, they bombard her,” Jessica said with a laugh. “She’s been very thoughtful through (the pandemic), by bringing us groceries. At the beginning, when things seemed quite frightening, we were just staying home.”
Libby’s kindness inspired the Corner family to donate the shoes to her. When designing the shoes, Tyson’s siblings Jane and Malachi chose to cover them with flowers.
“This has been a particularly trying time for our Starlight children and health-care workers alike,” says Starlight Canada executive director Brian Bringolf. “Receiving routine care is essential for many of these children and our Canadian front-line workers have shown unwavering support and compassion for their unique situations.”
For more information on Starlight Canada, click here.