When Ann Auld gave birth to a baby girl with Down syndrome, the doctor called her “Perfect”.
Ann and her spouse, Martin named her Zola, meaning, “Of the Earth”. Knowing her daughter’s condition, Ann vowed “I will bring her out into the world and I will bring the world to her.”
Ann’s path as a “fierce mama advocate” has been challenging but Zola’s accomplishments speak of success. Now 20 years old, Zola graduated from Reynolds Secondary School this year, winning the Council for Exceptional Children’s provincial, “YES I CAN!” award.
When Zola’s father Martin was killed in a motorcycle hit-and-run, eight years ago, the personal loss was catastrophic for Ann and Zola. Ann not only lost her active co-parent, but two full-time jobs, and nearly their home. Ann’s solo-tutoring service has become the primary source of income, so she can manage Zola’s life-long care needs, while running their home needs.
Now a solo parent, the emotional and financial stress placed on Ann’s shoulders has been exhausting. Although Zola can verbally express herself well, Ann oversees endless details critical to her daughter’s well-being. Imagine helping a teenager choose clothes appropriate for the day administer crucial medications, manage her time, while ensuring your daughter is never left unattended. “It’s like being an uber-mother cat in my daughter’s life,” Ann states.
Ann admits she’s worried about and constantly fending for Zola’s future. “Those of us in a kind of chronic caregiving mode are compared to combat soldiers – we never really get to be switched off.” That’s where the Cridge Respitality Service comes in, with funding support from United Way donors. The service was created to offer a “night away” compliments of a local sponsoring hotel, such as The Fairmont Empress Hotel and Laurel Point Inn.