A Vancouver Island couple, with one daughter fighting cancer and another dealing with serious mental health issues, is pleading for help.
“It’s immensely frustrating,” Jay O’Connor said.
Lisa and Jay O’Connor’s 16-year-old daughter, Kiera, was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I’m going in for another biopsy to either confirm or deny relapse,” Kiera said.
Her sister, 14-year-old Kylie, has clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
“It’s like I’m drowning in my own thoughts, I never stop thinking, and it’s not good thoughts that I’m thinking,” Kylie said.
But the O’Connor family is upset that the one daughter with cancer may live, while the other may not.
For the last month, Kylie has been in Victoria General Hospital as she awaits long term care.
“My parents have been bending over backwards my entire life to try and get me help,” Kylie said.
Lisa said for years they have been hitting one dead end after another. But after Kylie’s condition recently worsened, they fought tooth and nail to get a referral to B.C. Children’s Hospital, where their other daughter received cancer treatment.
Kylie took part in a three-hour interview the family described as gruelling.
However, Kylie was denied a bed in the hospital.
“They kept telling us they’re not a treatment centre,” Jay said.
She was also denied a spot in the special care unit at Vancouver Island’s Ledger House, according to Lisa.
She said it would be a one-year wait for Kylie to get into Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre in Burnaby.
“I will probably shock most people with what I’m going to say but if I had a choice about what disease or ailment, if I had to chose for my child, I would pick cancer over mental illness.”
Now the family may be forced to part ways as they consider out-of-province care for Kylie.
“It’s a sad state of affairs,” Jay said.