Community rallies around Sandfield family facing health issues

SANDFIELD—The Nicklasson family of Sandfield is blown away by how the local community has come to the family’s side as it deals with the health issues their five-year-old daughter has faced after suddenly being ill and having to go to hospital in Sudbury, then on to Toronto over the past few weeks. 

Taylen Nicklasson is still not out of the woods from affects of complex strep pneumonia.

The family has only lived in Sandfield for about a year and a half, with Hayley Nicklasson working in the municipality of Central Manitoulin municipal office and her husband Dustin, who owns a contracting business. Along with Taylen the couple also have a son, Landon, who is nine years old.

“A lot of people have reached out to help out, it has been incredible the support we have received,” said Ms. Nicklasson. “We can’t begin to explain how much gratitude we have for everyone who has helped, from neighbours offering to take our two dogs while we had to go to Sudbury and Toronto, from teachers and staff from our kids school (Central Manitoulin Public School) contacting us each day to ask if we need anything. And people from my work who have been absolutely fantastic, checking in every day, helping out being so supportive.”

“And now with everyone helping out to hold a fundraising breakfast as well for our family. People on Manitoulin Island have been absolutely fantastic to us,” stated Ms. Nicklasson.

“Taylen, who is five years old, got sick on the Monday of the Thanksgiving weekend as we were travelling home from being south to visit family,” said Ms. Nicklasson. “With Taylen not getting better, we went to the Mindemoya Hospital on the Saturday, and they sent us to Health Sciences North Hospital in Sudbury on the Monday as she was not getting any better. We ended up staying at HSN until Thursday. Hospital staff put a test tube in Taylen’s lungs to drain the fluid on the lungs. Basically, Taylen’s right lung was gaining fluid, and compressing her lung almost to the point it was partially collapsed.”

“She and I had travelled from HSN to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Dustin drove down too, with Landon, to Elora where we where both raised and my family took Landon so Dustin could come to HSN,” said Ms. Nicklasson. “We ended up staying at Sick Kids from Thursday to Tuesday. We owe a lot of gratitude to the nurses who helped us out so much at the hospitals, and the doctors were fantastic.” 

The family then stayed at Hayley’s stepfathers’ home in Fergus for a couple of days and returned home to Sandfield on Thursday of last week. 

“Taylen is on antibiotics for 19 days,” said Ms. Nicklasson. “She still doesn’t have a lot of energy. We are cautiously optimistic that she should suffer no long-term effects.” Over the next couple of weeks, “if the fluid builds back up in her lungs we will have to go back to Sick Kids. She is not the only child with this condition, we heard there have been 11 cases reported at Sick Kids recently with the same health issue.”

They had moved to the Island from Arthur, Ontario, “We love it here,” said Hayley, noting the couple moved into her stepfather’s cottage in Sandfield.

Along with a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign having been initiated by friends and co-workers of the family, a fundraising breakfast was held at the Freshwater Community Church this past Saturday.

Melissa Brandon, principal of Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) in Mindemoya told The Expositor at the breakfast, “Karlene Scott and I had been talking about how we could help the family and she also talked to Marcus Mohr about holding a fundraising breakfast. We have had a wonderful turnout today. It is great to see so many volunteers from the community, staff at the school and the municipality and the community come together to do this.”

Ms. Scott said, “I just happened to be working at CMPS the day Melissa and I were talking about what we could do for the family and talked to Marcus as well. We had an awesome turnout, there has been a fabulous response from the communities, Central Manitoulin office staff and council, teachers at the school, The Grill and Chill Restaurant, and lots of community volunteers.”

Mr. Mohr, a Central Manitoulin employees said, “It is incredible to see the outpouring support for the family. The (Nicklasson) family are relatively new to Manitoulin but quickly became part of the community making connections at work, through CMPS and with neighbours and we all want them to feel loved and supported.”

We have had lots of community support,” Mr. Mohr continued. “The GoFund Me is already close to the $5,000 goal thanks to large contributions from friends and family of the Nicklasson’s from southern Ontario as well as local contributions. There has also been a good number of people dropping off donations at the municipal office.”