When Rena Richer heard one of her customers would need to travel to Montreal for her daughter to receive life-altering surgery, she knew she had to do something to help.
Richer met Julie Degn, and her 14-year-old daughter Cassandra through the Easter Seals, where her own daughter was the regional manager.
Richer owns the Barnwood Design and Decor store in the Rainbow Centre, and recently caught up with Degn when she was purchasing Christmas decorations.
They talked about Cassandra, and Richer found out the family would need to travel to Montreal in the summer so Cassandra could undergo a surgery called femoral derotation osteotomy.
Cassandra has cerebral palsy, which has caused her legs to turn inward, and makes it difficult to walk.
Her mother said she gets tired after around 10 minutes of walking.
Surgeons at Montreal's Shriners Hospital for Children would break Cassandra's femurs and insert rods in her legs to straighten and rotate them outward.
Because they would do each leg separately, about a week apart, Cassandra and her parents would be in Montreal for three to four weeks, counting her recovery time in hospital.
When Richer heard the news, she decided to help the family by collecting funds to help the family cover living expenses during Cassandra's surgery and recovery. She set up a donation jar at her store, and opened a TD/Canada Trust account to help collect funds.
The account was opened at the downtown TD branch, number 3712. The account number is 6477 980. Any donations by cheque are payable to Julie Degn in trust of Cassandra.
“They're a very nice family,” Richer said.
For Degn, that act of kindness was a blessing.
“To me it's like a stranger doing something out of the goodness of their heart,” she said. “She just wants to help out.”