Vicky Stansik didn’t plan on staying long when she dropped her son off at the South Kamloops group home where he lives.
She wanted to be sure Jamie, born with one leg and who has ongoing health issues, was settled into his room before she left.
And, for what Stansik said is the first time ever, she left the keys in her car.
Jamie, however, was agitated, so staff at the home asked Stansik to stay and help calm him down.
It led to her spending the night there to lend a hand.
In the morning, her car was gone — as was Jamie’s wheelchair, which was in the trunk.
Kamloops Mounties are now looking for the four-door Saturn, licence plate AKO 91N, and Stansik is trying to get her life back on track.
A long-time care aide in the city, she has been off work in recent months due to a neck injury. Stansik is making do on income assistance, but noted money is tight.
She worked two jobs to save up to buy the Saturn at a cost of $900. Last year, she had theft and vandalism insurance on it, but this year, again because she said it’s hard to get by on income assistance, she let it lapse.
Life has been challenging for both of them, Stansik said.
Jamie was born with amniotic band syndrome, which means as the fetus was developing, the band cut off circulation to one leg, which failed to develop.
Stansik said Jamie’s father left them when the boy was two.
Jamie was bullied in school, with kids calling him a “freak” and tripping him, Stansik said.
One student flicked an elastic at Jamie, hitting him in the eye — which required treatment so he wouldn’t lose sight in it.
Stansik persevered as a mom, however, ensuring her son learned to ride a bike.
He also took horseback-riding lessons at the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association. Through assisted sports, he took skiing lessons.
“He’s my only family in Kamloops. My mom is dead. My dad is dead. My sister lives in Victoria, but she can’t help us,” Stansik said.
She said she hates asking for help. She hesitated before contacting KTW, she said, because she believes people need to make it on their own.
With no car, she’s using a bike to get around and continue to spend time with Jamie — but she needs to find her car or employment that will help her again save up to buy something inexpensive.
And she needs to have Jamie’s wheelchair replaced.
“I’m a homebody,” Stansik said. “I love taking care of people, so I’m looking for another job. … I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I knit socks and slippers.”
Anyone with information on the theft of her car and the whereabouts of her vehicle and her son’s wheelchair is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.
Anybody wishing to help Stansik can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.