Wish Book

Watching their ill mom suffer hasn’t let her children ‘just be kids’

Merry White and her daughter Ingrid Cannon sit inside the living room of Canon’s Florida City home. Canon has diabetes, a rare and debilitating skin condition, heart disease and suffered two strokes this year. She’d like to provide her three children with an escape from the hardship they’ve had watching their mom fight her many illnesses this year. A trip to Disney World, she says, would lift their spirits.
Merry White and her daughter Ingrid Cannon sit inside the living room of Canon’s Florida City home. Canon has diabetes, a rare and debilitating skin condition, heart disease and suffered two strokes this year. She’d like to provide her three children with an escape from the hardship they’ve had watching their mom fight her many illnesses this year. A trip to Disney World, she says, would lift their spirits. dgoodhue@keysreporter.com

To say Ingrid Canon had a tough year would be like saying South Florida had a bad rain storm in September.

The 37-year-old Florida City mother of three started off 2017 by losing two toes to a rare and debilitating skin disease known as reactive perforating collagenosis. Eventually the other three toes had to go, too. She spends her day tethered to a machine that flows oxygen to her wounded foot.

Then, from all the medication she took to treat the wounds on her feet, her kidneys began to shut down. She now must undergo dialysis three times a week for four and a half hour-sessions each time.

In July, she had a stroke that caused bleeding from the brain. It landed her in the hospital for four months. A few days after she was released in early October, she had a smaller stroke that put her back in the hospital until the day before Thanksgiving.

In addition to all this, Canon is a diabetic and has a heart condition that required her to undergo aortic valve replacement when she was 26 years old. But this year’s constant one-thing-after-another string of bad medical news has taken its toll on her whole family.

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“It’s been a long road since last year,” her mother, Merry White, said sitting in her daughter’s living room.

White, 51 — who herself has an array of health issues — takes her daughter to almost all of her dialysis sessions and trips to her various doctors. She’s always on the go, and this means that neither White nor Canon have much free time to devote to Canon’s three children — two girls, ages 11 and 12, and a boy, Jaylin, who is 14.

The two girls — Janya and Jakryia — are special-needs students and require more attention than most children their age. Because the family has so many difficulties, Jaylin has had to grow up much faster than most of his peers to take care of his mom and his sisters.

“He really helps out a lot. He does the laundry. He deserves something. He’s really been there for his mom, and his two sisters,” White said. “When his mom doesn’t feel good, he really helps out with his sisters. A lot.”

“He’s strong and tries to act like it doesn’t bother him,” White added. “But it bothers him.”

White said her daughter could use an electric scooter wheelchair to better aid her mobility.

But Canon, who has difficulty finding the strength to speak more than a few sentences at at time, said the children need to get away — to have time to decompress and just be kids.

She has a place in mind — Disney World. A trip to the iconic Orlando theme park would mean the world to Jaylin, Janya and Jakriya, she said. Her children have never been outside Miami-Dade County. “My kids would have a ball.”

The 37-year-old Florida City mother of three started off 2017 by losing two toes to a rare and debilitating skin disease known as reactive perforating collagenosis. Eventually the other three toes had to go, too. She spends her day tethered to a machine that flows oxygen to her wounded foot.

In the meantime, White tries to offer her grandchildren some semblance of normalcy each week. Often, a simple walk in the park provides a respite where they can stop worrying about their mom for a few moments.

Canon used to relish the time she could spend with the kids, and they with her. But it has been so long since they’ve seen their mom healthy and apart from a clinical environment.

“She’s sick, but the kids are suffering too. The girls were telling me yesterday when I was doing their hair that they miss their mom doing things with them, like taking them to the mall,” White said. “That’s not there anymore, and they miss that.”

While she tries to find the time and money to take the grandchildren to the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” White says an occasional escape to the movies is often just the therapy the children need.

“At least once a month, I take them to the movies, because they have to see this all the time,” White said, motioning to the various medical equipment occupying space in the living room.

“They have to see nurses all the time. I try to take them to the park. They need to be able to go out and just enjoy themselves. They don’t need to always worry about mom. They need to be kids. They haven’t been kids in a year.

“They haven’t been a kid in a real long time.”

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204

How to help

Wish Book is trying to help hundreds of families in need this year. To donate, pay securely at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook. For information, call 305-376-2906 or email wishbook@miamiherald.com. (The most requested items are laptops and tablets for school, furniture, and accessible vans.) Read more at MiamiHerald.com/wishbook.

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