Having a baby is a life-altering event for any family; having four is nearly unfathomable. There’s four times the joy and love, but also four times the financial strain of diapers, formula, car seats, cribs and more, as new parents Mark and Alicia Brown of Brentwood Bay have learned since the birth of their quadruplets last October.
But thanks to the efforts of a close friend and neighbour, the Browns now have an extra cushion in the bank for baby costs. Jennifer Olsen decided to run a raffle in support of her friends, and raised $5,000 from the community.
Olsen lived beside the Browns for years, and saw the financial challenges the newly-expanded family was facing.
“I just did it because I knew they were going to need it,” she said.
“Just travelling back and forth to the hospital and parking was costing them nearly $500 a month.”
“It’s amazing. It makes my husband and I absolutely speechless that she would do this for us,” said Alicia. “Right now that money is in a bank account that’s strictly for the kids.”
Being born nearly 11 weeks early, Liam, Riley, Alyssa and Emma spent weeks, and in some cases months, in neonatal intensive care, but with Emma’s homecoming a month ago, all the babes are settling in at home with mom and dad.
Now the challenge is just getting through the day.
“It’s a blur of feeding, burping, changing diapers, all hours of the day,” said Alicia.
With the death of her mother just a week before the babies were born, and Mark’s recent return to work, Alicia relies on friends and volunteers from the Victoria Pregnancy Centre to take some of the pressure off.
“We’re so thankful for them. They allow mom and dad to get some sleep,” she added.
With nearly 30 local and regional sponsors from all around the Peninsula, Olsen was able to make up four grand prizes for the raffle draw, each worth over $400: the Winter Escape basket, won by Jo Tyson; the Cook’s Day Off basket, won by Margie Edwards; the Get Fit basket, won by Cindy West; and the Pamper Yourself and Your Pet basket, won by Fay Verhagen.
The support from both the community in buying the tickets, and the dozens of businesses that donated their services and merchandise was astounding, said Olsen.
“I’ve never done this before, and it was really nice to see how generous people are,” said Olsen.
“We just want to say thank you to everyone for all your donations, and thank you for buying the tickets,” said Alicia. “You have no idea how much it has meant to us.”
For more information or to donate, visit http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/2014-vic-quads/286624.