‘Olivia’s Fund’ gets barbecue boost

‘Olivia’s Fund’ gets barbecue boost

The Silliker family and supporters are grateful to the community for its support. As a result of that support, Olivia Silliker’s (small photo) future is considerably brighter following a bone marrow transplant courtesy of her four-year-old sister Mackenzie.

Community support

Family and friends of Olivia Silliker are overwhelmed by the community spirit and generosity displayed at a fund-raising barbecue outside Chrissy’s Variety Store.

The recent barbecue raised $1,500, for which the family and supporters wished to express thanks from the bottom of their hearts.

Olivia was born June 9th to parents Mark and Anna and hospitalized August 5th with a diagnosis of ADA SCIDS (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). In layman’s terms, the rare (one in every two million births) condition means her immune system does not function properly, and a common cold can be deadly

Treatment for ADA SCIDS is a bone marrow transplant.

The immediate family was tested and a perfect match found in Olivia’s four-year-old sister Mackenzie. One week after admission to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, the transplant took place with the support of a very brave older sister. Mackenzie has since recovered from the procedure and attended her first day of school September 22nd.

Olivia remains in Sick Kids, in an isolation room, which filters air 500 times per hour. To interact with Olivia, her family needs to protect her from germs by using sterile gowns, gloves, hairnet, boots and masks.

It is unknown how long she must be in the hospital, but her family has been told to prepare for a lengthy stay. Olivia’s blood is taken regularly to ensure her white blood cells are increasing and tests are done to determine whether the bone marrow transplant was a success. She will not be released until it is positive that she has developed an immune system and will be able to fight infection on her own.

In the interim, Anna’s desire to remain with her daughter is being challenged by financial realities. Her maternity leave from a subsequently-closed plant (DDM) will come to an end, highlighting the additional financial pressures of living costs and travel expenses exacerbating the family’s natural stress caused by their daughter’s medical challenges.

Fund-raising efforts have been organized, including the barbecue, in order to provide financial assistance for Anna to stay by Olivia’s side through accommodation at Ronald McDonald House in Toronto, as well as with monthly bills and everyday living expenses.

“I would rather sell my house than leave her there all alone,” said Anna.

Additional fundraisers will occur over the next few months, however friends and family are encouraging the public to donate whenever possible to assist the Silliker family.

Donations can be made at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Tillsonburg. Cheques are to be made payable to St. Mary’s RC Church specifying that the donation is for “Olivia’s Fund” and a tax receipt will be issued.

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