Local donations made to support Gore Bay family

Hope Merrylees

GORE BAY—While a definitive answer on solving Hope Merrylees’ medical illness has not yet been uncovered, the 12-year-old Gore Bay youngster is coming home from an Ottawa hospital this week. Meanwhile, a local service organization as well as another group of friends are donating funds towards the medical expenses the Merrylees family is facing.

Edeana Merrylees updated her daughter Hope’s visit to an Ottawa hospital in an email to the Recorder on August 2. “So, we have gone through a ton of tests; we have dealt with cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, genetic, medibolics neuro dietitian, a pediatrician and a pediatric surgeon.”

“The good news is we will be coming home next week but we will need to return to CHEO (hospital) within the next few weeks for what I hope will be a shorter stay,” said Ms. Merrylees. “We will be making a lot more trip to CHEO for follow up.”

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Ms. Merrylees explained, “with all of our investigations the team has decided our best option for Hope is to have a G tube surgically placed in their stomach; the plan is it will hopefully help Hope if we are able to do night feeds while she is sleeping. We still have a few tests still outstanding and will be waiting for those results.”

As reported in the July 21 edition of the Recorder, Hope was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) for answers for Hope’s condition. Hope has recently run into major complications in her digestive system, has been experiencing weight loss, a reduction in energy and is sleeping a lot and that her condition has never been diagnosed. Hope was started on a liquid diet but it was found she was still not gaining weight. Doctors in Ottawa are trying to diagnose her medical problem and come up with a treatment plan.

Even with everyone’s efforts over the last 12 years, Hope is still undiagnosed, and she was placed in the Care for Rare program and she has been making a few trips a year to CHEO in Ottawa for follow up and testing, using Hope Air directly from Gore Bay to Ottawa.

Ms. Merrylees pointed out that she has been travelling to Ottawa to CHEO since Hope was born. She explained previously it was very apparent from the beginning that something wasn’t right with her medically. Doctors think it is a rare genetic disorder that affects her neurologically leading to uncontrollable seizures. She also has problem with her central nervous system.

“Overall we are still hoping to get answers for Hope,” Ms. Merrylees told the Recorder. “I would like to thank everyone for all the support and good wishes. We will have a long ways to go but we are on the right path.”

Jo-Ellen Sloss, president of the Gore Bay Rotary Club, pointed out the club had put out a donation jar for Hope and the Merrylees family at the club’s breakfast and fish fry supper, as part of the recent Gore Bay Harbour Days celebrations.

“The donation jar was put out and $263.25 was raised,” said Ms. Sloss.

As well, Beverly Wright of Kagawong told the Recorder on August 2, “Friends of Edeana Merrylees have opened a trust account at the Bank of Montreal in Gore Bay. We would like to send sincere thank yous to those who have donated thus far.”

“If anyone would like to support Edeana and Hope, donations can be deposited to the ‘Hope Cooper Hospital Fund’ at any Bank of Montreal on Manitoulin Island,” added Ms. Wright.