Windsor Family Fights for Border Exemption during Pandemic


A Windsor, Ont. family is fighting for their dying mother's final wish to see her parents one last time.

Diane Costello was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2018 and was told there were no more options in March — she's now in hospice care with only weeks left to live.

Her daughter Shayla says it's been seven months since her grandparents, 77-year-old Marolyn and 80-year-old Norman Hotchkiss, have been able to visit in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Just being able to see her in person and listen to her voice in person, being there not only for my mom but for us too. We need that support. It's a terrible thing to go through and not having your family there is even worse," added Shayla, who goes on to say her mom doesn't want the last time she hears her parents' voice to be over video chat.

With Diane too weak to travel, her parents would need to come to Windsor, Ont. from Livonia, Mich. and quarantine for 14-days, but they have health issues of their own that require outpatient treatment.

Shayla sent out paperwork for a border exemption Wednesday after drumming up support from Windsor-West MP Brian Masse and Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, but time is a factor.

"I honestly think she's fighting until she sees my grandparents and gets that proper goodbye that my family deserves," she says.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens has also taken-up Diane's cause; bringing her story to a recent meeting on border closures.

"He's now fighting to get a compassionate care exemption for all people separated, whether it be for funerals or for the end of their life," says Shayla. "So he's working with us to get an exemption for, not only us, but all the other people separated by these border closures as well."

The family is planning to bring Diane's parents over Monday to quarantine so they're close by if the exemption goes through in the coming days.