Community fundraising for Kelowna woman struck by tragedy

Tragedy after tragedy

A Kelowna woman has lived a nightmare this year.

Nadine Netelenbos, 28 has lived in the Okanagan for nine years and has worked as a full-time screener at Kelowna International Airport until a series of tragic events.

In February, her father died of a heart attack. Her mother had already passed four years prior. In August, her cat died, and two week after that on Sept. 2, her fiancé Jay (William) Nijholt died by suicide.

"Life has hit me like a freight train," she told Castanet.

Netelenbos says her fiancé had previously never dealt with any mental health issues.

"I have suffered from anxiety and PTSD, and he was always very loving, but he never understood it."

One evening, Netelenbos said Nijholt didn't come home from work. "After a few hours, I called the RCMP."

She also took a drive to his worksite.

"When I pulled up, I saw a bunch of ambulances and cops and I knew exactly what had happened and he had done it on site. He completed the job that day and folded up his safety vest and placed his helmet."

Netelenbos says her fiancé's stress of owning his own company and recent financial pressures became too much to handle.

The series of losses this year has left Netelenbos unable to work.

"I am on a minimum two-month leave, advised by my psychologist and even though I have a government job, we are not entitled to short-term or long-term disability. I will be applying for medical employment insurance."

Netelenbos shared rent with her fiance before his death, which means she is now also struggling financially.

"Thank God I have an amazing soccer community. I play on five different teams and my boyfriend played on at least three different teams and they have covered my fees for soccer this year which is going to be my one outlet so that is really amazing to me."

Friends have also set up a GoFundMe to help cover costs while Netelenbos is off of work. Over $3,000 has been raised to date.

She is hoping her story will inspire others to seek out help when in need.

"Just do your best to be compassionate. I think it is so important not to dismiss people's feelings and to take them seriously," she said.

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