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Kelowna family to star in Show of Hearts

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Isla Ransom, 4, of Kelowna will be featured on Variety's annual Show of Hearts Telethon next month.
Dan and Karrie Ransom of Kelowna didn't know anything about accessible homes until they had a child with multiple disabilities.
"We used to just carry Isla around everywhere," said Dan.
"But when she got bigger, we came to a crossroads. We needed to retrofit the house."
That renovation is now complete thanks to help from organizations such as Variety Children's Charity, President's Choice's Children's Caring, Giving in Action from the Vancouver Foundation and the provincial government's Home Adaptation for Independence.
Variety's $18,000 contribution provided a lift (elevator) that carries four-year-old Isla from her bedroom to the home's back door so she can be rolled out onto the wide sidewalk and into her wheelchair-accessible van.
"I don't know what we would have done without Variety's help," said Karrie.
The Ransoms will tell their story again on the upcoming 48th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, airing Jan. 25 and 26 on Global TV.
"The whole family is going down to Vancouver for the telethon," said Karrie.
"A Global crew has already been to Kelowna to shoot video of our new space, Isla using the lift, the family going for a walk and some interviews. They'll use that when we appear live on the telethon at 9 a.m. on Jan. 26."
In addition, the family plans to be on hand for the telethon's opening ceremonies on Jan. 25 and for the wrap-up on Jan. 26 when the fundraising total is announced.
Isla was born with Trisomy 18, so called because sufferers have too many chromosomes. The syndrome, caused by an error in cell division, leads to severe disabilities, including heart and lung defects, kidney problems and developmental delays.
"Usually it's detected with blood work or ultrasound when you are pregnant," said Karrie, "but it wasn't picked up during my pregnancy."
Most babies with Trisomy 18 die shortly after birth, she said.
"We're lucky Isla has lived this long. She'll never walk or speak, and we don't know how long she will live.
"But I think she has quality of life," Karrie said. "She's a super-happy little girl who smiles all the time and flaps her arms when she's excited."
The family received a $45,000 wheelchair-accessible van, with Children's Caring and Giving in Action splitting the cost.
Giving in Action also provided $50,000 for home renovations, which included widening doorways and making Isla's bedroom as functional as a hospital room, but homey.
The provincial grant of $20,000 allowed for the concrete landing for the lift, widened sidewalks and garage modification to fit the van.
Cops for Kids and Shriners donated a customized hospital bed.
"It took a lot of research to find out what help is out there," said Karrie, "but help is out there. I'd like other parents with disabled children to know that too."
Karrie trained as a teacher but is a stay-at-home mom. She gets help with Isla from a night nurse.
Dan manages the family business, Fusion Glass Works.
The Ransoms also organize an annual fundraiser at Summerhill Pyramid Winery on Isla's birthday, April 27.
Over four years, $32,000 in donations have gone to Canuck Place at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver.
"It's our way of giving back what we can," said Karrie.

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