Child Care Story

Child Care Story

Shannon was a single mother with two children in a Wood Buffalo YMCA child care program who was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas. When she had to reduce her work hours to travel to Edmonton for cancer treatment, finances became tight. Bills were adding up, including her child care fees.

When Shannon could no longer afford child care and didn’t know who to turn to for help giving her children the care they needed, the Y was there to offer financial assistance. Not only did this assistance help with her financial burden, but it lifted a huge emotional burden off her shoulders, too. She could continue her treatment and have the peace of mind that her children were being cared for in a warm, supportive environment. They could maintain their routine—something that’s so crucial for children, especially considering the stresses of their mom’s illness.

When Christmas neared, our child care staff used some additional Y funds, along with donations from staff and other child care families to put together two large boxes of food, clothing, sleds, gift cards, toys, and beauty products for the family.

When the YMCA staff arrived at the family’s home, they were met with amazement from Shannon and her children. When Shannon saw the donations of food, she began to tear up, sharing that they only had one box of Kraft dinner left in the cupboard. Her son looked up at her with gift cards in his hands and said,

“Now we can get Christmas presents.”

In April, Shannon and her children moved to Edmonton to be closer to family and her treatments. Sadly, that June, Shannon passed away.

This news was devastating, but the YMCA team took comfort in knowing that they had helped make their last Christmas together a happy one.