Miranda Tymoschuk has had many difficult challenges in her life, leaving her asking why bad things have to happen.
When Tymoschuk was five, her father died of a heart attack, suffered while playing hockey.
Immediately after, Tymoschuk and her siblings were tested for the same condition that affected their father, and all were diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that causes high cholesterol levels and results in early cardiovascular disease.
Since Grade 2, she has had 10 surgeries to correct a birth defect that caused her lower left leg to grow slower than the right one.
Tymoschuk also has hypercalcuria, a condition that causes excessive calcium in urine, which caused her to have a kidney stone in Grade 6.
As well, she has mild form of pectus excavatum, a depression in the chest that can cause compression of the heart and lungs, which could alter their function, and scoliosis – curvature of the spine.
She became very ill the past two years and saw many doctors before finding out she had a gallstone blocking her gallbladder.
In January, she had her gallbladder removed.
This caused her family to miss Christmas last year, and Tymoschuk felt she had messed up holiday vacation plans. She started to have nightmares and felt miserable all the time.
A psychologist diagnosed her with post traumatic stress disorder and depression caused by the stress from her various ailments and prolonged hospital visits.
And less than a month ago, she became sick again and found out she had another stone blocking her liver.
Still, after having been to eight different hospitals, seeing countless specialists and undergoing numerous, uncomfortable tests, the Grade 11 Thomas Haney student was able to pick herself up.
This past March, against the advice of her psychologist, she travelled to Kenya through a program with Me to We and Free The Children. There she helped put up walls for a Grade 5 classroom and dig the foundation for a new library.
Although she continued to feel the effects of her depression and PTSD, it was a life-changing trip.
“It reminded me what it feels like to be me,” said Tymoschuk.
“It just showed me how happy these people are even though they are faced with so much.”
When she returned to Canada, Tymoschuk was inspired and reenergized to tackle her own problems.
She found a psychiatrist to help her through her depression and PTSD and is better.
She is now planning to return to Africa in March, this time to help people in Ghana through the same organization.
This Saturday she will be holding a Christmas bake sale in Haney Place Mall to raise money for her trip. Her goal is to raise $4,700 for her flight, meals and the supplies she will need for her project.
“There are tons of Christmas goodies,” she said while spreading chocolate frosting on a reindeer-shaped sour cream cookie at her dining room table.
In addition to more than seven kinds of cookies – including shortbread, molasses, sugar, and gingerbread – Tymoschuk will also be selling marshmallows dipped in chocolate, candy sticks and chocolate covered pretzel sticks.
“We also have gluten free options because I know that there are many people who can’t have gluten and I want there to be options for them as well.”
The bake sale will take place this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Haney Place Mall, just above the ramp.