Strong voices for young adults with special health needs


The South West LHIN would like to recognize the dedication of Rick and Rosemary McEllistrum.

Krista McEllistrum with parents Rick and RosemaryRick and Rosemary, along with other families, fought to ensure young adults who are medically complex receive the right care they need to live better lives. Their daughter, Krista, was born with cerebral palsy and was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic. Thanks to their advocacy and support from the South West LHIN, Participation House now offers both overnight respite and residential living options to young adults who are medically fragile and technologically dependent. Krista moved into her shared two-bedroom home through Participation House in 2015 where she was cared for by developmental service workers.

“Rick and Rosemary have been strong, unwavering advocates for their daughter,” says Michael Barrett, CEO, South West LHIN. “They have helped the LHIN and providers create a system that can better meet the needs of medically-complex children as they become adults.”

Krista passed away from pneumonia in November 2015, and because of the work of her parents and other care providers she was able to live a full and happy life. “Krista had the opportunity to have her own little place, and for that we are very grateful,” says Rosemary. “One of her favourite songs was ‘Just the way you are’ by Bruno Mars, and I loved her just the way she was.”