The family of Riley Stevens is on the move, after a successful GoFundMe campaign left mother Courtney “absolutely blown away.”
Last week, an online fundraiser was started for the family, who were forced to leave their home after a flood, which damaged furniture, nine-month-old Riley’s toys and also caused mould to grow. And while mould is not healthy for anyone, it’s especially dangerous for the Semiahmoo Peninsula tot, who was born with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia), which is a hole in a baby’s diaphragm that allows organs to migrate into the chest while the baby is still developing. As a result, it causes the child’s heart and lungs to be smaller and less viable.
Mould is potentially life-threatening for babies with CDH. The one-income family – Courtney cannot work as caring for Riley is a full-time job – had been living out of a hotel prior to the GoFundMe campaign, with aimed to raise $5,000 to help the Stevens find a new home.
As of Monday morning, the campaign had raised more than $5,700 and the family had found a new place to live.
As well, Courtney told Peace Arch News that in addition to the donations, “complete strangers have reached out and helped in their own ways” – everything from dropping off clothes and toys to gift cards.
After PAN wrote the original story last week, offers to help poured into the newspaper, as well. Some offered to temporarily house the family’s cats while they looked for a new house, while one business offered to remove the mould from the original house, if they were to return.
“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to each and every single person that has donated, shared, or even just taken the time to read our story and cheer us on. It means a lot to us and we couldn’t have done this without you guys,” Courtney wrote on the GoFundMe page on Saturday.
The Stevens spent the weekend moving into their new home – “A cute little house,” Courtney said – although Riley did have another brief hospital stay last week.
He’s OK now, his mom said.
“We are so excited to start this next chapter of our lives,” Courtney said.