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Variety helps Okanagan family after wildfire destroys home

Click to play video: 'Variety the Childrens’ Charity helps family after wildfire destroys home' Variety the Childrens’ Charity helps family after wildfire destroys home
WATCH: It's hard to imagine the devastation a family would feel after losing everything to a wildfire but that's exactly what happened to the Brandt family, who now lives in Cold Stream when the White Rock Lake Wild Fire swept through the area consuming more than 70 homes including theirs. Sydney Morton caught up with them to find out how Variety The Childrens' Charity is helping them recover. – Feb 25, 2022

Dean and Sandy Brandt lost everything to the White Rock Lake Wildfire in August — their home, pottery studio, garden, cars and thousands of dollars of specialized equipment for their granddaughter, Isabella, who goes by Bella, and has been diagnosed with autism also has a rare genetic disorder called SMC1A Epilepsy.

“In Bella‘s case it’s tonic-clonic seizures, grand mal. She stops breathing and her seizures can last an hour and 40 minutes and then, bang, right into the next one. As soon as that one’s out, it’s into a next one. So they have to intervene in the hospital,” said Sandy.

The couple outfitted their home in Killiney Beach to meet their nine-year-old granddaughter’s needs. Now they have to start over.

They spoke with Global News days after losing their home while staying in a travel trailer and that’s when Variety the Children’s Charity reached out to the family giving them a specialized chair and playground tiles.

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“To purchase that chair and those [playground tiles] there’s not enough to thank them for. It’s been very, very appreciated that they would do something like that,” said Dean.
“[The chair] it’s been the best thing for her right from when we got it. It’s one of the biggest teaching elements for her so that has been a gift for us.”

The specialized chair also helps them teach Bella. She is learning sign language to better communicate. Right now, clapping is her main way of communicating her wants and needs. The playground tiles when put in the backyard will keep her safe. If she hits her head it could be life-threatening.

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“Just getting these two items has helped us so much and then some people have helped and we will build it back slowly. It’ll take a little while because when you were in a travel trailer, you can’t take much. That’s the most devastating thing,” said Sandy.

The family is now in the process of rebuilding their home back in their neighbourhood and close to the North West Side Fire Department, where a truck has been named after Bella.

“We’ve definitely built a relationship with her and her family and seen the struggle they’ve gone through,” said Nicolas Cantryn, acting fire chief North West Side Fire Department.

“We wanted to honour them by naming an apparatus after her…they hold a very special place in our heart.”

Soon, they will be able to show the firefighters they consider family Bella’s progress, thanks to her dedicated grandparents and Variety the Children’s Charity that helps children and their families when they have nowhere else to turn.

Their story will be featured in the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon on Saturday, Feb. 26.

Click to play video: 'Music has always been a big part of Variety and the Show of Hearts Telethon' Music has always been a big part of Variety and the Show of Hearts Telethon
Music has always been a big part of Variety and the Show of Hearts Telethon – Feb 25, 2022

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