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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Kimberly Sorin has created a cheesecake raffle to fund her grandson Colban’s medical travel expenses, this time to Vancouver and back.

When Colban was five years old, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis. It is a type of brain inflammation caused by antibodies in the body.

“In August 2015, he got really sick, and from August until the end of October, we were literally fighting for his life,” Colban’s grandmother explained.

Sorin says they didn’t get home until Christmas Eve that year.

“He had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, how to eat again. We’re still working on a lot of those things.”

According to the Perelman School of Medicine, the disease causes a wide range of symptoms varying in severity, such as seizures, memory loss, psychosis, and more, depending on the stage of the disease.

“He’s been diagnosed with many other medical complications on top of that now,” Sorin said.

“It’s just a new way of life for us.”

The money raised through the raffle will go towards a ten-day trip to Vancouver, hoping that the funds will cover gas and hotels.

It takes around two days for Sorin and Colban to travel from Fort St. John to Vancouver because Colban, now 12 years old, can’t sit in the vehicle for too long.

Luckily, once in Vancouver, room costs are covered from the night before the appointment to the night after the appointment, but the rest of the hotel stays are not.

Sorin says her disability coverage slightly helps with gas, but only at a rate of 25 cents per kilometre.

Many people don’t understand why they can’t fly or even take a bus, Sorin said.

“Those aren’t options for Colban. Colban has no immunity on his own. He receives life-sustaining IVIG every four weeks and has been doing that for a number of years. We don’t see that changing anytime soon,” she explained.

“He’s extremely high risk for infection. We’ve been recommended that we are better off travelling by private mode of transportation.”

Sorin says that his team of doctors have recommended this travel option.

“In a plane and on a bus, it’s recycled air, and people don’t understand that. There’s way more chance of infection for him. And Colban is sick so much that I would really prefer him not to catch anything else,” she said.

Colban spends a good chunk of his year with a bacterial lung infection and bronchial pneumonia, so his carers would prefer not to add to those conditions.

Sorin says she created the cheesecake raffle because she needs help covering the costs to travel to Vancouver, but she didn’t want to ask outright. Instead, she wanted to give something in return.

The raffle is taking place through Facebook, where participants can purchase a numbered square for each of the four cheesecakes for $5, and once all squares are sold, a draw will be had for each cheesecake.

There are 25 squares for each cake, and squares have been selling fast, as the draw only started on Monday

All 25 squares for the strawberry cheesecake have been sold, and only a few remain on the other cakes.

Sorin says she will start pulling draws on Friday, and that the cakes will be baked fresh and delivered within 24 hours.

She also adds that they will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months.

The cheesecakes up for grabs are peanut butter confetti, caramel Skor, and chocolate truffle.

Sorin worked in many restaurant kitchens and was previously a kitchen coordinator for a church.

“Cheesecakes are the one thing I really, really like making, and I’m really good at making them and coming up with my own recipes to make them, and they’re really, really tasty,” she said.

Sorin has added a 50/50 draw for $20 a ticket on the Facebook event page for the Cheesecake Raffle.

Sorin added that she doesn’t want to give out her email until people confirm what number they want so she doesn’t get bombarded with email transfers, but the Cheesecake Raffle is a public event page.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.