Former bodybuilder struggles to pay for rent and supplements
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Imagine having to decide between your health and your home. Shaun Balint, a Burnaby resident, has come face-to-face with this tough decision. Over the past year, Balint dropped from 275 to 131 pounds—due to severe allergies, according to dieticians. In a mysterious turn of events, doctors couldn’t figure out what was the issue, only hypothesizing that he had a growing allergic reaction list. Now, with dwindling food options, Balint has turned to protein bars, as recommended by dieticians.
“His current diet of only protein bars and shakes has been around six months,” commented Laura Balint, Shaun’s wife.
“Before that, he wasn’t eating much at all. He has slowly taken types of foods out one by one. For example, one day, he can eat beef, then the next day his face and throat will swell up after two bites. I believe [the protein supplements] will sustain his current poor health but to improve he needs more [than his current situation]. Until we find a meal replacement we will take this option. Our fear is that one day he will react to the protein bars.”
According to CBC News, the Balints have already received one eviction notice after failing to pay last month’s rent—and a future that includes a roof over their heads doesn’t look too bright with Laura missing shifts to aid her ill husband.
“The emotional journey has been just as hard—if not harder—than the physical journey,” Laura admitted.
“Trying to get funding for the supplements needed just to survive is very stressful. The decision every month to pay rent or buy his supplements makes me sick. I could not imagine saying no to the supplements, but I also couldn’t imagine making the decision to not have a home. I know he feels very alone sometimes because the government and the doctors have basically left him to die.”
With doctors unable to provide any conclusive answers, the couple hopes to find solutions with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). With Shaun’s health on the line and their home teetering on an eviction notice, Laura has turned to the community—and they have responded.
“Since the first story came out the community has been very generous,” Laura shared.
“We have gotten a large donation of shakes from the maker of Magnum Quattro. Popeye’s Burnaby and Coquitlam have donated cases of bars and fish oils. We have also started a Go Fund Me page, ‘Shaun’s Food Supplement Help,’ where the community has been generously donating. We are very grateful for all that has been donated, but the unfortunate part is that what we have raised will only last a couple of months—then we will be back to where we started. We would appreciate any donations that would help us have more time to come up with a solution to his health or to the financial problems that it creates. If donations are not possible, we are also looking for pressure on the government to make changes to policies that would allow a case-by-case flexibility policy. It costs $1,500 each day to have Shaun in the hospital, but only $900 a month for his supplements. Things need to change.”