Update: The family is in touch with someone who may be able to provide a replacement for the beloved toy.
OLIVER (NEWS 1130) – A B.C. family that has been under three evacuation orders in as many weeks is trying to find a beloved stuffed animal that has already seen their toddler through a lot.
Keera Nieto lives in Oliver. She and her family, which includes two young children and pets, have been living in and out of hotels in the South Okanagan due to the wildfire threats in the area. Somewhere in the chaos, her son Sawyer’s stuffed fox went missing.
“My son was born with a heart murmur, as well as little holes in his heart,” Keera explained, adding Mr. Fox has been with him since the day he was born.
“Mr. Fox has followed him to all of his appointments, in his arms every single time he has his EKGs and his ultrasounds and all that stuff. Mr. Fox has always been there, and he’s just always been such a best friend for my son.”
The family was first forced from their home when a fire broke out on the hill right behind their house, though they were allowed back home the next day.
“Then a week later, we were evacuated again for three more days due to another wildfire that was getting close to us. So we were evacuated for three days. On Thursday of last week, we were allowed to go home. And then two hours after we were allowed to go home, we got sent out on evacuation for a third time,” Keera told NEWS 1130.
Having been shuffled around different living accommodations in the past month, it’s been difficult for Sawyer to be without his comfort item.
“He used to just hold [Mr. Fox] to go to sleep,” Keera said. “Now he’s always holding me, which is totally fine, I love doing that for my son. But I feel like his needs aren’t being met because he doesn’t have that little buddy anymore that keeps him safe and comfortable.”
She says stress levels have been high for the whole family.
“[Sawyer asks], ‘When are we going home? Why aren’t we allowed to go home?'” she said. “We’re trying to make it like a mini vacation for the kids, but it’s hard to keep our stress levels down to make them not feel too stressed out. Switching hotel rooms every few days has been really hard on them, as well
Keera is trying to find as close to an identical replacement as possible, in the hopes it can help her son through this tough time, though she says “losing the sentimental value is going to be a bit tough.”
With files from Claire Fenton