With his wife in near-constant pain and the family finances pinched, Daniel Petke did what most people would do, he donned an inflatable dinosaur outfit and took to the streets of Calgary to raise funds and awareness.
Petke's wife Brittni suffers from a Chiari malformation — structural defects in the cerebellum — that has wreaked havoc on her body. She can barely move and suffers from intense pain.
Petke says she has over 100 symptoms to deal with.
"They were mostly minor when I met her and over the eight years since we've been together, it's just significantly progressed to the point now where she spends most of her time kind of stuck in bed or just trying to get comfortable on the couch," he said.
Petke always wanted to do something to help and to make more people aware of the rare condition, and he just happened to have a dinosaur costume from a previous Halloween that he thought would do the trick.
"I just thought: 'I could really use this to draw attention to what I want people to know about and that's to draw attention to Chiari malformation,'" he said.
To that end, he's been out five times in his getup, dancing about in front of signs drawing attention to the condition and raising a bit of busking money.
Costs and drugs
The dancing schtick also helps point people to his GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising money for equipment like a power chair and to help the family pay for CBD oil, a cannabis extract that Petke says is the only things that relieves his wife's pain.
"Right now, they say there's nothing they can do. Her only option right now, they say, is to go to narcotic drug options, which we're trying to avoid," he said.
"But she's just suffering constantly. I don't really know what to do anymore, she needs help for sure."
There is no cure for Brittni, her condition is too far advanced for the surgery that offers relief to some with the malformations. Now it's just a question of management.
"Emotionally it's a big struggle," said Petke. "I'm here for her 120 per cent. I just always try to do whatever I can for her."
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