The OSNS Legacy Fund was established to build greater sustainability for the future of the OSNS Child & Youth Development Centre.
Since 1978, OSNS has been providing services to children with developmental challenges all across the South Okanagan Similkameen. There is an average of 100 children who walk through the doors of the Centre each day. Over the last year alone, OSNS provided over 100,000 hours of program services.
One family who has been deeply impacted by OSNS is Scott and Susy Austin. Their son Sam was born in 1993 at 29 weeks at BC Children’s Hospital. Sam weighed just under 3lbs, had a brain bleed, was suspected to have cerebral palsy, and had no heartbeat so they didn’t know how oxygen deprived he was. Scott and Susy spent 8 weeks at BC Children’s Hospital and during that time they were prepared by the doctors for every eventuality.
When Sam was stable and they finally were able to go home, they were referred to OSNS. A therapist began seeing Sam every month to work on Sam’s developmental progress. Scott and Susy still remember Sam on the floor with the therapist working on different skills.
At the end of that first year, they were told that Sam was progressing well and catching up on his fine motor and gross motor skills. Sam is now 30 years old, is six feet tall and works in the wine industry in the Okanagan.
Fast forward to 3 years ago in 2020 when Scott and Susy were expecting their first grandchild. Sophie was born on June 23rd with lung issues and spent six weeks at the NICU in Kelowna. They later found out that Sophie has a genetic deletion, a very rare condition with no real definitive answer to what a child’s future with this condition will look like.
Just like that, Scott and Susy were thrust back to 1993 thinking, “this can’t be happening again”. They were able to draw upon their experience with Sam to help their daughter and son-in-law during this challenging time.
Sophie began using the Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology services at OSNS and was loaned a walker to use at home while she was learning to walk. She used it every day, going back and forth up and down the hallways in their home. This piece of equipment helped her learn how to walk — she went from falling over all the time to walking, to running, and now she’s climbing over furniture and walking along curbs and driving her Nonno crazy.
Sophie will be 3 at the end of June. Although she’s not yet forming words and was delayed learning to walk, Scott and Susy share that she is the most amazing little kid. Smart, inquisitive and extremely determined. They know that Sophie will get to where she needs to be because of her determination. They share that without OSNS, it would just make it that much more difficult.
The passion and focus behind the OSNS Legacy Fund is to make sure children like Sam and Sophie can get the early intervention support they need, when they need it.
Giving to the OSNS Legacy Fund will help OSNS secure treatments and services for families for generations to come.