Calgary household struggles financially to assist new child youngster with uncommon coronary heart situation

CALGARY – After doctors told her she could never have children, Nicole Banman received the gift of a lifetime.

On her birthday in October 2019, she found out that she was pregnant with a beautiful boy named Brodie.

“It’s a kiss from an angel,” said Banman.

“If he smiles and we kiss and hold, it’s just a blessing from God.”

Brodie was born on June 13, 2020, but a rare condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome forced doctors to perform open heart surgery just two days after he was at Stollery Hospital in Edmonton.

Two more heart surgeries would follow, along with several other procedures. Medical teams also worked to repair Brodie’s diaphragm, which affected his ability to breathe.

“It was just sad and I couldn’t be a real mother to my son,” said Banman.

“I couldn’t hold or feed him, it was so hard and no parent deserves to have a child in the hospital.”

Brodie is now eight months old and continues to be cared for by doctors in the cardiology department at Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Banman hopes her child can be released soon.

“He’s a fighter, my gosh, and he just lights up,” she said.

Financial struggles

Banman was fired from work in December 2019, forcing the mother-to-be to apply for employment insurance with Service Canada.

She received a collective EI until she had her baby in June, but now says her government benefits have been completely depleted. Meanwhile, in the common law area, her partner has been laid off amid the pandemic and he’s also collecting government benefits.

Banman says she is now being denied Alberta Works and Service Canada benefits because her unemployed partner is already receiving money.

“We’re excessively buckled up trying to make it through, but we’re taking resources through the community for clothing and are forced to go through the Calgary Food Bank,” Banman said.

“And unfortunately I can’t work because if I go to work and someone tests positive for COVID, I can’t bring that home to my baby who has oxygen.”

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