Affordability Issues Vancouver: Surviving Tragedy.

 Shannon, “Our family has not been that blessed.”

2011 was not a good year:

Shannon’s mother was locked out of her job at a Vancouver tour company. They were consequently evicted from their home of seven years. Their grandmother took them into her 2-bedroom basement suite – mother, disabled father, Dylan, Shannon, and baby brother Sean.

Sean was taken into the ER at BC Children’s Hospital. Sean was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

1. His body wasn’t taking well to the chemotherapy.

2. He couldn’t eat so an NG feeding tube was inserted up his nose down his throat and into his little tummy.

3. The port they implanted in his chest for chemotherapy and blood work flipped over under his skin.

4. Due to the severe infections during the first few rounds of chemo it was touch and go.

“My baby brother Sean was born September 2008. Since the age of three Sean has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.”

Fortunately Sean was deemed in remission in February 2013.

“It felt like mere seconds that Sean was in remission.”

January 2014:

Sean bi-yearly physical results showed the Leukaemia had returned. The doctors planned a full body radiation along with a bone marrow transplant from Sean’s older brother, Dylan.

Sean was put back into “remission” with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, both his testicles were surgically removed. Sean was ready for a bone marrow transplant from his brother Dylan.


“We failed Dylan in our race to save Sean.”

Dylan had developed a severe drug addiction and his life was tainted right down to his bone marrow.

“We were devastated for Dylan and Sean.”

Shannon lost her older brother to the drug-ridden streets of Vancouver. Drugs feed on poverty and neglect, of which they were rich in both.

As this great divide widens between the rich and the poor in Vancouver, more and more youths are disappearing into this bottomless drug epidemic.

This is happening every single day. We need more accessible funding for these families suffering tragedies.

Vancouver is doomed to be a testament of what happens when only a small part of a society is pampered to.

A greener tomorrow does not save Shannon today, does it?

Note: A kind new mother donated her umbilical cord for a stem cell transplant. Sean was in remission once again.

June 2015

“He will be fighting for his life for the third time in less than 7 years on this planet.”

Sean was in the ER again, Sean’s cancer had returned. Sean is currently undergoing a study chemotherapy that only 24 children in North America are receiving. Due to Sean’s age his mother has to live in the hospital with him.

“Over the years we’ve never been able to save a penny for our future, or have money to fall back on when times get tough.”

With the amount of hours that Shannon has to work to support her father it is impossible to visit the hospital. She sees her brother and mother twice weekly.

“Cancer is so unpredictable, all I want is to afford to take some little time-off work to spend a few precious moments with our little Seanny.”

FALL, 2016:

Sadly Sean passed away.

Shannon, barely 18, has no prospects on the horizon.

Hope is a flicker amongst the dying embers of a fire that once was a family. Can we nurture that flicker back into a flame?

Shannon has one dream and that is to attend college to get a degree as a Social Service Worker. She believes that she was given this burden to better understand the pain of a broken family.

Her goal is to bring solace and knowledge, a helping hand and guidance to other young people – like her brother Dylan, like her younger more innocent self – before it is too late.

If there is anyone, anyone who feels like they can help Shannon in some way, with guidance, with sponsorship, please contact me to connect you.

Lets mend the cracks, one family at a time, Vancouver.


Samantha McLeod

Vancouver based food and travel writer.

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