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GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – This afternoon was an emotional one for members of the late Dr. Lionel Kelland’s family, but a proud one as well.
Katie Costello’s daughter Maggie has cerebral palsy and epilepsy due to a violent assault when she was a baby.
Katie Costello is looking to raise enough money to buy an accessible home for her and her daughter Maggie.
When relatives suggested starting an online fundraising campaign to raise money towards a home for Katie Costello and her four-year-old daughter, Costello’s first thought was to decline the offer.
However, as she has done throughout Maggie’s young life, Costello put her daughter’s needs first and agreed to the generous gesture.
Living in an accessible home, rather than a basement apartment, is what Maggie needs as they move into the future, Costello said.
“It was humbling to put that little bit of pride aside and to accept the offer. I know (buying a home) isn’t something that I’m ever going to be able to do by myself, as a one- income family and with Maggie’s extra needs,” Costello said during a recent phone interview.
Maggie’s special needs are a result of an assault she endured at age three months.
The assault left the infant with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and numerous other neurological challenges.
The child’s assailant – her father.
“It was horrendous, the worst experience any parent can go through seeing their child in ICU and not knowing if they are going to survive. It’s beyond words,” Costello wrote on the fundraising page.
Maggie’s father confessed to the crime and was sentenced to five years in jail.
While the child’s recovery has been remarkable and left nurses referring to her as “Miracle Maggie,” Costello said her daughter still have many challenges.
Shortly after Maggie was released from hospital Costello moved back to Newfoundland to be near her family.
“A big part of me would have loved to move home but we were fresh out of the ICU and I knew Maggie was going to need extensive rehab, indefinitely. So it wouldn’t have been doable, especially as a single parent, to live in Labrador City,” Costello said.
Costello settled in the St. John’s area where she works as a nurse and where Maggie is seen regularly by a team of health professionals at the Janeway.
“Over the last four years we have become well accustomed to the Janeway, pediatric rehab, neurology, neuropsychology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy, orthopedic surgeon, occupational therapy, cerebral palsy clinic, speech language pathology, the ER, and many more,” Costello wrote.
“CNIB is also another part of our circle of care. They’ve been unbelievable,” Costello said, adding that Maggie is now visually impaired.
Maggie loves Peppa Pig, puzzles and preparing pretend food.
“She may not be able to hold the spoon as well as other children her age but she gets the concept. She’s stirring up that fruit that she’s pretending to make... she has her own little personality. She’s funny, she’s spunky, she’s smart,” Costello said.
Her daughter has a caring respite worker and attends a fantastic daycare, Costello said.
Costello said there are many people who have supported her over the years including her mother and step-father, her siblings and their families and her father and his partner. She is very grateful for their love and kindness, she said.
She would also like to thank Jessie Nippard Tobin who held a fundraiser in Labrador City and to the organizers of the Annual Ride for Quinn (Butt) for donating a portion of the money raised from this year’s ride to her family.
The financial strain of moving from coast to coast, weeks in hotels in British Columbia and Maggie’s adaptive equipment led to Costello declaring bankruptcy after moving home from British Columbia.
Costello said she is grateful to her relatives David and Heather Strange for starting the online fundraiser and to the hundreds of people who have contributed to the cause.
The goal of the fundraising campaign is to raise $75,000 as a down payment for a new house and to modify it as needed for Maggie's special needs.
Established four months ago, the fundraiser has raised almost $27,000 thus far.
Costello said the kindness of family, friends and strangers has helped her move forward in life.
“What we went through can harden you. But I’ve tried my best not to let that happen. To not let my view of the world and of people change. And the generosity of people has been unbelievable. There is so much goodness in this world.”
Maggie is loved by many people, Costello said, and she’s proud to be her mother.
“Maggie has overcome so much and continues to amaze me every day. I learn from her so much and I cannot wait to see what her future will hold. Though it may be a different future than expected it will be one of joy and happiness,” Costello wrote.
To donate to the fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/a-home-for-maggie.