By: Corrine MacLean
PORT HAWKESBURY: Since January of this year, Jacky Tormis’ son Justin has been suffering through an aggressive case of scoliosis. Justin is in need of a spinal surgery, but it costs $22,000 which can’t be paid out-of-pocket by the small family.
Jacky Tormis works as a massage therapist at The Secret Spa in Port Hawkesbury. She moved here from the Philippines in the January of 2016 to earn more money to send to her family back in the Philippines.
“Once you’re here, you don’t want to go anywhere,” Tormis said when asked why she decided to stay in Cape Breton.
Tormis would like for her son to live here with her, but right now he lives in the Philippines, until he is approved for citizenship in Canada.
This past December, Tormis noticed in pictures that her son was leaning towards the left side. Then she heard that Justin was experiencing pain. In January, Justin’s father and aunt took him to get an x-ray, which was when they discovered his scoliosis.
According to their doctor, the scoliosis must have been present since Justin was a baby, but he is only now experiencing it. It is an aggressive form of scoliosis that is on his left side, causing him to lean sideways. This leads to his ribs digging into him, resulting in constant pain on a daily basis.
Scoliosis is known as a deformity in the spine, causing the spine to curve. There are different degrees, and currently Justin’s is over 30 degrees.
“The more we wait, the more it’s getting worse,” Tormis says, stressing the importance of the surgery.
Justin is only 15 years old, and is a very sweet and polite boy, as described by Tormis. She goes on to say he doesn’t ask for anything, because he’d rather save his money to get something himself. He likes to play basketball, but because of his condition, the only physical sports he can do is swimming. He cannot carry anything too heavy, even at school.
He and his mother are very close.
“If my son was with me, I would notice this quickly, and it would never go worse where we are right now,” she noted. “But I have to work.”
She is helping her son stretch to strengthen his body over Skype, to get ready for the surgery.
Tormis is unable to pay for the surgery from her own pocket and has very recently opened a GoFundMe page, based on the advice of a friend.
Tormis says the page was a last option, since she wanted to keep their situation private. So far, she hasn’t met her goal on the page.
“But you know what, I’m so really happy because it’s working, and I’m hoping that it will continue working.”
She also emphasizes that even if people can’t donate, sending prays or spreading the message is enough; any amount of help is enough.
“I just want to ask everyone out there to help me. And I’m very thankful for everyone that’s really trying to help me.”
The GoFundMe page is at: gf.me/u/iwn2ns.