Because Some Things Are Too Precious To Gamble On
Who We Are – Rachel’s Kids
The founder of Rachel’s Kids Development Fund is Dr. Rachel Navaneelan, a local dentist in Cornwall. Dr. Rachel initiated a charity auction and garden party held in her own backyard to raise funds to assist victims of the tsunami. The aim of the fundraiser was to bring awareness and to raise money to benefit underprivileged children in Sri Lanka, her native country. Some of these children were orphaned and/or displaced due to past ethnic disturbances and many others were orphaned and displaced due to the tsunami tragedy on December 26th, 2004.
Dr. Rachel had been financially contributing in the past to the best of her capability to support these children. It had been 4 months since the tsunami and the initial tsunami assistance had already faded and the children had been forgotten. Very little or no support had reached the children post tsunami. There were no social benefits or unemployment benefit programs in existence in Sri Lanka, children of parents who lost their livelihood to the tsunami were experiencing the same fate.
Dr. Rachel promised if the fundraiser proved successful, her intention was to make this an annual event where half the contribution would be made to local charities, mainly to benefit children in the community, and the remainder would continue to go towards projects initiated overseas.
Thanks to the compassion and generosity of the communities of Cornwall, SD&G and surrounding area, the event proved to be an enormous success. Dr. Rachel kept her promise. With volunteering efforts and the unrelenting support of our local community we continue to hold our signature “Annual Garden Party & Auction”, as well as our “Foster Program”. We’ve proudly witnessed a significant upsurge in financial contributions allowing us to create, develop and grow multiple programs targeting our local surroundings with emphasis on children with special needs, children with terminal illnesses as well as family support.
We are proud of what we’ve accomplished since 2004 and we will continue to strive to be the community resource for SD&G and surrounding areas.
MEET OUR FOUNDER
There is an old saying and we all know it well. It takes a village to raise a child. That is the philosophy of Rachel’s Kids. It is about this community coming together, those who are concerned and care about, and are committed to the children of our community. It is about making life a little better to that child who is battling a life threatening or terminal disease.
Rachel’s Kids House of Hope offers cutting edge therapy and programming for children with any developmental challenges particularly those on the autism spectrum. At the same time, we are a resource centre to their parents, helping them to deal with the challenges, to access community support and to connect with other parents.
I personally consider the House of Hope a HAVEN for all children, a place where children can be themselves in a safe and happy environment.Finally, Rachel’s Kids continues our overseas work with children in need in Sri Lanka. Through our programs there, we help to build and renovate schools, pay for school supplies and food supplies to some of the poorest communities in that country. We have made a difference in the lives of more than 600 children.
All this has been achieved due to the generosity of every one of you, through your financial contributions, your time that you give and for every other form of involvement that you make.
I was not born here, but in 1993 I moved to Cornwall to start the second chapter in my life. I established a dental practice and 25 years later I’m still here. I can truly say that Cornwall is my home, and when I see the generosity and solidarity that brings this community together as a village to raise that child, I am proud of my home and to be a part of that village.
Dr. Rachel Navaneelan
When the Lefebvre family came to us for help through our Helping Hands program, we knew exactly what we had to do and that was to give Avery a voice! We purchased an IPad for Avery and installed this amazing app called Proloquo2go, a complete communication solution providing many natural sounding text-to-speech voices.
“Since using Proloquo2go, Avery is more motivated to communicate and is getting less frustrated when he can’t verbally say something by telling us what he wants to say through the app. Thank you Rachel’s Kids, Helping Hands and everyone that made this happen.”
Meet the Lapierre family, our most recent recipients of Small Moments of Joy.
Alexandre (5) and Leo (3) are brothers who suffer from a condition called Primary Immunodeficiency (PI). There are over 300 genetic defects and disorders of the immune system that can be recognized as a primary immunodeficiency disorder. Alex and Leo’s case is still a mystery as doctors are still trying to determine the type and cause of their disorder.
“When we chose to help the Lapierre family by granting them a wish of this magnitude, we knew this family could certainly benefit from some quality time together to recognize the sacrifices they have had to make for their sweet boys.” Dr. Rachel Navaneelan, Founder and Chair of Rachel’s Kids. “But we were not expecting the outpour of support and gratitude so many people from the community expressed on our social media platforms thanking us for granting this wish. It’s really humbling to witness how important this wish is not only to the family, but to all who are aware of their very difficult situation.”
“Despite their illness they are typical boys enjoying typical boy things. They love the outdoors, the beach, to play with cars and trucks. They have a great sense of humour and are living a very full and fun life.”
ALEXANDRE AND LEO LAPIERRE
Our friends from SD&G Dev. Services reached out to us earlier this year requesting financial support in purchasing this crib, and of course, we wanted to be a part of this amazing opportunity! This specialized crib will offer a more diversified clientele to spend an overnight at the Family Relief Home so families can get some much needed respite.
“Your generous donation has given families the relief that otherwise would have been lost. With the appropriate equipment now in place, we will be able to give relief to all families, and at all hours of the day!” (Julie O’Shaughnessy, Case Manager at SD&G.) “You have helped our team provide families with the necessary services, ensuring that the children are being cared for with the utmost quality. This donation has made a world of difference in this community, and specifically in the lives of families with young children that require specific care at the Respite Home.”
SD&G DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES
After learning Robyn (Jesce’s Mom) needed some help, we were happy to provide her gas cards and grocery cards through our Helping Hands initiative, allowing the family to focus on Jesce’s health and not so much on the day to day travelling expenses.
“Jesce rang the bell today surrounded by the wonderful staff and fellow patients at the hospital. This marks the end of his proton radiation in Boston. He still has more chemo up ahead, but this phase of his treatment is complete and he get to come back home in a week. He also got to see his first wrestling match (the show was called Money in the Bank) while in Boston, hence the big belt he is wearing and the briefcase his mom is holding.” We are so proud of Jesce and happy to have been able to help him and his family through our Helping Hands Initiative.
Imagine this. Recently you’ve noticed that your child hasn’t been acting quite like their usual self. You can’t quite pinpoint it, so you chalk it up to a rough week. But maybe that rough week turns into two. You start to think about their behaviour and you grow more concerned; they are always asking for extra water or juice at breakfast, they seem to be constantly hungry, they’re rushing off to the bathroom more frequently, and they are tired as soon as they step in the door from school. Although these symptoms may seem common for children who may not have had a good night’s rest, that’s not always the case. These symptoms should be taken seriously, and that’s exactly what Stephanie Lacelle did only to learn that her sweet boy, Oakley, had Type 1 diabetes. A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes can be earth shattering for both parents and child. So many thoughts can go through a parent’s head but the most common question a parent will ask is “How am I going to be able to give my child everything they need now that they have this condition?”
When your child has Type 1, you have to constantly think about blood glucose levels, day and night, and make the necessary adjustments to keep your child safe. You live with constant anxiety about ‘what could happen’ regarding blood levels. You have to teach your child to be stronger and independent much earlier than other children. Your natural instinct is to protect them, but you also have to let your child be independent and confident in managing their own Type 1 as they grow up.
Stephanie has reached out to us regarding financial help in purchasing a new insulin pump system, which unfortunately, was not covered by any insurance or government assistance.
The MiniMed 670G system offers SmartGuard, the only technology that mimics some of the functions of a healthy pancreas by providing two new levels of automated insulin delivery. With its advanced settings, it would benefit not only Oakley’s health but his confidence and independence as well.
“He has been doing really well. He’s level have been more in the range that they are suppose to be. We are getting less highs and less lows. As per our recent CHEO appointment his A1c is at 7.4 so he is now exactly where he should be with the help of his new pump. He is enjoying life like a normal boy. “
How has COVID affected us?
We have been unable to fundraise, except a small yard sale last June where we sold a variety of unique items purchased in Sri Lanka on the annual visit there, as well as some items donated by local vendors. The sale of Nevada tickets at two local locations is also ongoing and miraculously we are still receiving donations through our website and by long standing donors who are committed to our cause. Unfortunately, we have had to permanently close the House of Hope.Rachel’s Kids donated all of our special sensory equipment and adaptive toys to schools in the local area so they can be used by a wider audience. Furniture and other contents of the building were distributed amongst the Restore, Agape Centre and Baldwin House. The books, games and toys were donated to the Boys and Girls Club. Despite these changes we remain busy responding to requests for assistance via our two main programs – Small Moments of Joy and Helping Hands.