Princesses are destined to become queens, and the Fort St. John Oil Wives Club is making sure a young, six-year-old girl has a chance to live like one when she grows up.
The Oil Wives donated $3,700 to Emerson Smith and her family this week, to help with Emerson's care needs living with a rare form of cerebral palsy. The funds are from the Oil Wives' portion of profits from a Princess Ball held in September in partnership with the Daughters of the Eastern Star.
"We wanted something close to home," said Tennille Penner. "For Emerson, that has an immediate effect. It can help her right away."
Emerson was born with severe dyskinetic dystonic cerebral palsy, which affects the way her brain sends and receives signals, and affects the control and co-ordination of every muscle in her body, her mother Jamie said.
The funds from the Oil Wives are much needed for the family, and will go towards making the family's van wheelchair accessible, a conversion expected to cost $28,000.
Indeed, medical care for the family is expensive, Smith said. Medical bills cost the family around $50,000 a year; a robotic feeder costs more than $8,000, and eye gaze technology to help her communicate costs more than $20,000.
Emerson takes part in speech and physical therapy, and even music therapy to help her manage life with cerebral palsy. She will need a wheelchair the rest of her life.
The family is working hard to make sure Emerson is as independent and confident as can be as she grows up, Smith said.
"You want her to be able to be the best she can be," she said.
"It's astonishing how much support we're getting from the community and I'm really grateful to be part of this community."
The Oil Wives are hoping to see the community pay it forward. A dinner, auction, and evening of music will be held Saturday at Whole Wheat and Honey.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.