Fundraising begins for Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel's $1M baby

A woman in Manitoba has started an online donation account for a Saskatchewan family.

Gofundme account started yesterday

Reece Huculak-Kimmel was born in a Hawaii hospital. (Courtesy of Huculak-Kimmel family)

A woman in Manitoba has started an online donation account for a Saskatchewan family.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel and her family currently owe $950,000 to a hospital in Hawaii. Huculak-Kimmel had a premature baby while on vacation last year, and was in hospital for months.

The couple had purchased travel insurance with Blue Cross, but the insurance company denied their claim, citing a pre-existing condition.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel (left) gave birth to her baby Reece (right) nine weeks early while in Hawaii. (David Shield/CBC)
Lynda Dobbin-Turner, from Lavenham, Manitoba set up a gofundme page late yesterday. The account has raised more than $750 so far.

"I've been on Facebook with a few friends, and we said with a gofundme project, if a million people put in a dollar each, or 100,000 put in $10, you could cover this for somebody."

Dobbin-Turner says she's interested in the story on a personal level, because of struggles with her own son.

He had cerebral palsy and passed away three years ago at the age of 17.

"I, myself, had a child that lived with really significant disabilities. And knowing how lucky and fortunate they were, that even with all the drama and the trauma of having a child born that early, that they had a healthy baby, it just really struck a chord with me."

Dobbin-Turner said the fact Reece Huculak-Kimmel is healthy thanks to medical intervention touched her heart.

She said she'd hate to see the baby's family struggle financially after the birth of a healthy baby.

Darren Kimmel says he's not happy with how his insurance claim was handled. (Supplied photo)
Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel has agreed to allow the fundraising effort to happen. She says all the money earned will go towards paying for the hospital bill, unless the insurance company changes its mind.

"If Blue Cross pulls through for the medical bill, every cent that is funded through this support system will be donated to the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) in Saskatoon."

Huculak-Kimmel admits to being reluctant to take any money.

"We did not do this for support," she said. "We did this to get the story out, to warn travel insurance purchasers that they need to be aware of what they're buying.

Claim denied

In a letter, Saskatchewan Blue Cross said it can't comment on any specific cases. However, in the letter, the company said it believes it is on solid ground.

"We review each claim carefully and are confident that our decision to decline this claim was done in a considered manner based on the contract terms, the situation which resulted in this emergency medical claim, and a review of recent medical history," read the letter.

The family said the claim was denied because of a bladder infection Huculak-Kimmel suffered two months before her water broke.

Huculak-Kimmel also says she was never asked to disclose any pre-existing conditions when she bought the insurance.

The family has not decided what it plans to do yet. The couple has considered fighting Blue Cross in court, as well as declaring bankruptcy.


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