Donations needed to help sick Lloyd girl

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August 2, 2016 1:13 PM

Baby Cassandra's folks are in desparate need of money to support a trip east where the infant will receive surgery to correct a serious birth defect.

Baby Cassandra must go to Toronto for surgery to correct a rare condition

An uncommon medical disorder has forced the parents of a sick Lloydminster baby girl to appeal to the public for help.
Cassandra Benabese, who was born in April, has what’s called Cloacal Malformation, and her parents, Joseph and Maribel,  need some funds for travel and lodging to bring the infant to Toronto to get surgery.
All they are asking for is some empty bottles,” said Joem Weinkauf, Cassandra’s aunt.
“We’re aiming for $3,000; Cassandra will be six months by September and that’s the only time they will allow (this type of operation) on a child, once they are six months and above,” she said.
“And I believe they would stay in the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto because it’s cheaper.”
According to emedicine.medscape.com, cloaca is defined as a confluence of the rectum, vagina, and urethra into a single common channel; this defect is one of the most formidable technical challenges in pediatric surgery and occurs in one out of every 20,000 live births of females.
Weinkauf said Cassandra’s parents are prudent with their finances, but nobody plans for having a child with health anomalies, so now they need a bit of help to get their baby the proper care.
Had the parents lived on the Alberta side of the city, that province would pay for the fare to Toronto, Weinkauf said, but Saskatchewan’s government doesn’t offer those types of services. 
“The mother reached out to organizations here and the challenge in Saskatchewan is they don’t have a program that shoulders the fare of the parents going to Toronto for surgery,” she said.
As of the time of Weinkauf’s interview, $800 had been raised through bottle donations, bringing them to almost a third of the goal.
There will also be a garage sale on Aug. 6 at 1303 47B Ave. to raise more money for the Benabese’s trip.
Weinkauf said Cassandra otherwise seems like a normal, happy child and looks perfectly healthy from the waste up.
“Because if you look at her from the top half upper portion of the body, she’s really healthy, but if you look below, that’s where all the tubes and stuff are,” she said.
“I visited Cassandra today and she’s not crying, but the mother said at night time, that’s the time the baby cries—but (while) visiting, she looks like a normal child.”
Anyone who wishes to donate some bottles can drop them off at the Sun Life Financial building at 102-4802 50 Ave., or, for pick-up, folks can contact: Maribel (306) 821-4179, Rachel (306) 307-9847, or
John (306) 821-4665.

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