Julie, Mya & Ben

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Pictou County, NS

When Julie and her daughter Mya made the decision to leave Ontario two years ago, they were looking for something very specific from their new community – a sense of belonging, a quiet unplugged lifestyle, and good medical care close to home for Mya to continue her treatments. They found all of this, and more, in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Mya, an active nine-year-old with a love of the outdoors, is a nephrology patient at the IWK. She has a chronic kidney disease and needs regular check-ups with a team of specialists, and occasional procedures involving overnight stays.

“When you’re dealing with a chronic condition, it just becomes part of your life,” said Julie, Mya’s mom. “When hospital visits come close, brave Mya is always the first one to say ‘Well, I guess it’s time to go again’.”

When Julie and Mya make the trip in their van, it takes them two hours to arrive at the IWK. Finances at home are carefully budgeted, so when Julie learned about Irving Oil’s Fuel the Care program, she felt like she was getting a lift.

“The fuel cards really go a long way,” said Julie. “They help make it possible to live the lifestyle we want in a rural community, and still get Mya the care she needs.”

Mya looks forward to the journey because she gets to watch movies in the car on a portable DVD player – a rare treat for this family with no internet connection or TV at home. But after things check out at the hospital, the best feeling is returning home to their dog Cessna, a circle of friends at school, and Ben, Julie’s partner that came into the family’s life in Nova Scotia.

They love hiking or snowboarding together as a family, but Mya’s favourite activity is to ride her bike through her quiet neighbourhood streets. She loves it so much that her mom decided to face her own fears and join Mya and Ben on their adventures.

“I’ve never ridden a bike before – it’s definitely not my thing. But I’d do anything for Mya,” said Julie.