This entire Kamloops family is sick with COVID; mother in hospital | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This entire Kamloops family is sick with COVID; mother in hospital

A fundraiser launched on Aug. 17, 2021, is aiming to help Gary and Kate Hill keep up with bills as they battle COVID-19.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Leah Duthie
August 20, 2021 - 6:30 AM

The effects of COVID-19 continue to threaten people in the Interior as one Kamloops family finds itself struck with the virus and one of them remain under care in hospital. A fundraiser now aims to help them stay afloat while the virus keeps them from continuing their lives, let alone returning to work.

Kate and Gary Hill, along with their sons Noah, 12 and Connor, nine, were all diagnosed with COVID-19 five days ago. Kate is currently in intensive care at Royal Inland Hospital, said her mother Deirdre O'Neill.

Gary's mother, Leah Duthie, is in Revelstoke, unable to visit her son's family while they are isolated. She decided to start the fundraiser on Aug. 17, which will help the family pay their mortgage in Kamloops, among other bills.

"This is the hardest thing we've ever had to live through," Duthie said.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases continue at rapid pace with 230 more in Interior Health

Kate is currently under breathing assistance but her condition has improved, O'Neill said.

During the height of the pandemic, Kate stopped working to take care of their sons, while Gary continued to work. He works away from home as a rail track welder, according to Duthie.

Prior to the summer, Connor went through surgery on his leg and the family had to take him to Vancouver Children's Hospital — the second time in six months. Then, while on vacation this summer in Kimberley, a deer jumped from a ridge and landed on top of their vehicle. It smashed the windshield and glass shards cut the children. Duthie said their injuries were minor, but the boys were very frightened.

"This family has been through so much in the last year and a half. It just seems like they go through one crisis, then they have another one." Duthie said. "This family could really use a break." 

READ MORE: British Columbians have little sympathy for the unvaccinated who get COVID

Kate was scheduled to receive her first COVID-19 vaccine before she got sick, O'Neill said, while Gary had not yet received his because he has been working near Prince Rupert, Duthie said.

READ MORE: All staff in B.C. long term care homes must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 12

Tests are yet to reveal exactly which variant the family is infected with, but Duthie expects to hear those results from the hospital when they are available.

The Interior Health region continues to see a large portion of new COVID-19 cases in B.C., with 230 recorded in 24 hours between Aug. 17 and 18. The province recorded a total of 553 in that time.

Duthie's fundraiser can be found here. It has raised nearly $3,000 since it started on Aug. 17.

She said the family has not applied for any COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government, but that even $2,000 per month would not cover the mortgage anyway.

If needed, Duthie, who is also a foster mother, will take care of her grandchildren. But that would depend on Kate's continuing care at Royal Inland Hospital and a long wait for the kids to test negative then isolate for another 14 days, she said.

READ MORE: Big White restaurant earns hefty fine for party that broke COVID-19 rules

- This story was corrected Aug. 21, at 12:40 p.m. to say Kate is the only one in ICU and has not received her first COVID-19 shot. Connor was not in the ICU.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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