Just a day after arriving home from completing his Million Steps for MS walk from Prince George to Vancouver, Tim Michalchuk and his family suffered a devastating blow when their home in Bella Coola was destroyed by fire.
“My house is gone,” Tim posted on their Facebook. “Everything I had is gone. I tried to save my dog but I couldn’t. My home is gone.”‘
Tim walked from Prince George to Vancouver to raise funds for his partner Shannon Dickson to have stem cell treatment for MS.
Tim finished his almost month long walk at the University of B.C. hospital on Sunday, May 1 and surprised Shannon with a proposal of marriage at the finish line.
Speaking from Bella Coola this afternoon, May 9, Tim’s mom Kimberly Kaytor said Tim and Shannon and their children are staying with Shannon’s parents Pat and Sunny Dickson in Bella Coola while they try to regroup and figure out what to do.
Tim and Shannon and their two young children arrived back home in Bella Coola from Vancouver Wednesday night, May 4.
Pat, who lives 15 miles away in the Bella Coola Valley, said the family was just finishing dinner when the fire started about 8 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in an out-building behind Tim and Shannon’s home and quickly spread through trees to the main house.
She said Tim and Shannon were at their property with the fire inspector Monday afternoon trying to determine the cause of the fire.
“It burned up so fast because it was so dry but everybody is safe,” Pat said.
“It was very, very quick.”
Pat said they lost one of their cats and one of their dogs in the fire and had to let their chickens out to fend for themselves.
She said another cat was badly singed and has been sent to a veterinarian in Vancouver for treatment.
“Everything was so very confusing,” Pat said.
Condolences are pouring in from family and friends on their Facebook and GoFundMe pages along with help to provide basics of clothing and personal needs.
“We are now living in our little travel trailer with all our kids sleeping in my parents’ house so we can stay close together, ” writes Shannon on their GoFundMe page.
“Health wise I’m heading down hill a bit,” Shannon said. “The continuous pain in my left hand is back full force and right to my elbow on the left, and my fingers on the right are getting almost as bad.
“The drop foot on the left is worse too. Trying very hard to keep positive for my little ones, but with little hope of having a place to call a home for us all together in the near future it’s not easy.
More on Tim and Shannon’s story can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/kehkkd4k and on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/MillionStepsToSaveMyShannon.