Some 13,000 km separate Elizabeth Nimeno from her family and now, perhaps more than ever before in the years she’s been in Canada, she wants nothing more than to be at her husband’s side.
He’s at home in the Philippines battling against advanced chronic kidney disease while she remains in Canada, saving every dollar she earns as a personal support worker at Riverside Glen to pay for treatments. The choice seems unbearable: be away and earn the money he needs, or be at his side with little to pay for even the most basic of treatment.
“It is very difficult for me,” she says, yet her voice rings with optimism in the same breath. She may seem alone with her family so far away during the most difficult of challenges, yet she says an extended family within Schlegel Villages and Riverside Glen stands with her. She most recently felt the comfort and support of that extended family through a financial donation from the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund.
The benevolent fund, launched in early 2018, is fuelled by team member donations from across the organization and matched by the Schlegel Family to a maximum of $50,000 a year. It’s meant to offer team members facing difficult personal circumstances some financial assistance alongside the emotional support that comes from knowing an entire community stands in solidarity with those in need.
Elizabeth’s genuine gratitude rings clearly as she discusses the fund and the gift she received, which has been set aside to help cover the cost of the kidney transplant her husband so desperately needs. Perhaps some of her optimism comes in knowing that she is not alone in her efforts to support her husband.
As of mid-February, she remains hopeful that the operation can happen in the “near future,” so right now the family is working “doubly hard” to gather the resources. The donation, she says, was a big help.
“It really meant a lot for me and I really appreciate the help that Schlegel Villages as a whole have given me,” she says. “It lightens up a little bit of my burden in trying to save for the transplant. I just take each day as it passes,” she adds, “and I just thank the Lord that I have a good job that I really love.”