For more than two years, Laura McIntyre has lived in a state of uncertainty. Uncertain whether she and her children would be sleeping in the same place the next day. Uncertain if they would be safe wherever they ended up.
After months spent sleeping in her truck while her kids stayed with whichever friends could take them for a night, earlier this year the Langford woman emptied her savings and bought a fifth-wheel trailer.
But what was meant to be a comfortable and safe home turned out to be nothing of the sort.
”The walls just came off. Right now, when I stand in my bedroom and look down, I just see the ground. It’s basically taped on,” said McIntyre. “I had an RV guy come up and they told me basically, its not going to be fixable and the only option is to find something else.”
A survivor of domestic violence and a single mother of three kids — each with special needs, McIntyre reached a breaking point in May, when she collapsed and was hospitalized by stress.
”It’s just been day-by-day, week-by-week,” she said. “The kids need a nice safe place to sleep while I try and pull it together for us.”
But the tide may be turning. As the holidays fast approach, the community is starting to rally around McIntyre’s family, thanks to a crowd-funding campaign organized by her friend Tara Twaddle to help buy a new camper in excellent condition for her to live in.
The GoFundMe campaign has a goal of $35,000, and since launching on Dec. 4 has raised nearly $4,000.
“They are such a lovely family and they are struggling,” said Twaddle. “She doesn’t want a hand-out, but she deserves a hand-up.”
Twaddle said organizing the fundraiser for her friend was a no-brainer. When they first met seven years ago, it was McIntyre who was offering unsolicited help to Twaddle.
Twaddle’s son has a rare disease which limits his mobility, and as he grew it was becoming harder and harder for her to carry him. Without a thought, McIntyre hand-weaved a sling to help Twaddle carry her son, and the two have been friends ever since.
For McIntyre, the simple fact someone was willing to setup the campaign to help her and her kids means the world to her.
”It feels like we have a community again and we are not out there on our own,” said McIntyre.
But while she is happy people are hearing her story and want to help her, McIntyre said it is even more important people recognize that unfortunately, her story is far from unique. She said she knows many other survivors of domestic violence are out there who are not so fortunate.
Anyone in immediate danger of domestic violence should call 911. A woman not in immediate danger can call the Victoria Women’s Transition House 24-hour crisis line at 250-385-6611 for resources and help.
Men in need of help and resources can call the Pacific Centre for the Family at 1-866-478-8357 or the Men’s Trauma Centre at 1-866-793-6367.