Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore is easing back into her job, after being on a reduced workload for several months to take care of her son.
Lore said she’s increased her duties as MLA, parliamentary secretary for gender equity and a member of the legislature’s committees on public finance and police reform, as she tries to find a balance between her high-profile public life as an elected official, and her private home life during an ongoing health emergency.
“It’s not the way I wanted or intended to start this job, but you don’t get to choose in life when and where and how emergencies happen,” she said. “Curveballs just come at you.”
Lore’s son four-year-old son Asher was diagnosed with a brain tumour near his right eye in March. He’d been complaining about headaches, but Lore said she at first thought it was due to the stress and anxiety people are feeling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctors made the devastating diagnosis just five months after Lore won her seat for the first time in October, and Lore immediately announced she was stepping back from her role to care for her son. She described the first few months as “being on a learning curve and then falling off a cliff.”
“There’s no off switch, but I did take the space and time I needed especially in that first bit for Asher, but also for Eve, to make sure my family was looked after,” she said.
Lore, her husband Rob and 7-year-old daughter Eve began frequent trips to Vancouver to get Asher treatment, which is continuing.
Now five years old, Asher is still very active in the family’s backyard, bouncing on the trampoline and playing Lego. But his health journey is far from over, as the tumour remains.
“It’s so tough,” said Lore. “But Asher is incredibly resilient.”
An outpouring of community support has kept the family going.
“The power of a neighbour randomly bringing over beer and ice cream cannot be understated for a family going through some tough times,” said her husband Rob, a civil servant in the government.
Lore’s boss, Premier John Horgan, said she has his full support to take whatever time is needed for Asher.
“My heart just goes out to the whole family,” he said. “I know they are working hard and they’ve got all the support we can must from our group in the legislature, certainly from me.”
Lore said she made need to step back from her duties again, as Asher’s care continues, depending on the next steps and choices ahead.
“As those next steps come for Asher we’ll adjust again,” she said. “I think it will be an ongoing process for awhile.
“Asher and our whole family are receiving such good care,” she added. “He’s so resilient. There’s still quite a road for him, quite a road for us, to address the tumour to make sure he’s alright.”