Bottle Drive to make up for OHIP refusal

Jen Buchan and her Daughter Rylee can be seen counting cans and bottles in their front yard, June 18, 2021 (Dan Gray/

If you go for a ride down Church Street in Sault Ste. Marie, on any given morning, in the next few weeks, you may see a yard full of beer cans and bottles.  Don’t be alarmed, it’s not litter.

140 Church Street is the home of a bottle drive for a very special young lady inside, who needs surgery to fix a malocclusion. If you are anything like me, you said a what? when you read that, so let’s explain.

In basic terms, according to Jen Buchan, her daughter, Rylee, has an upper jaw which stopped growing at some point, and now it’s causing a myriad of issues.

“It’s affecting her ears, her sleep, and her breathing, she actually gets debilitating headaches because of it, and it’s painful” said Jen. “We’ve called most agencies that fund things like this and have been told no, because it’s considered cosmetic.”

A pile of cans, which will be sorted into bags of 200, to raise money, June 18, 2021 (Dan Gray/

So far, since starting their drive a week ago, they have raised just over $700 towards the total $6,000 the surgery will cost.

In this moment, OHIP considers this surgery to be “cosmetic”.  Jen says that, because of this, OHIP won’t approve the expense, although they have in the past.  They will not cover this cost, even though it’s been deemed medically necessary.

When SaultOnline heard of the story, we reached out to MPP Ross Romano’s office and they have indicated that they are going to be working with the family to see what the province may be able to do to assist.

One more catch, having this procedure is time sensitive.  Rylee requires this surgery before her 18th birthday in January, at which point her bones will begin to fuse, potentially leading to multiple health issues in the future.

When asked what she would like to say to the people reading this, Rylee, who is also diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum and further manages a connective tissue disorder, she was pretty straight forward.

“If they would donate their cans and bottles and maybe just read up about it,” said Rylee. “Just really think about how it affects me, maybe try to help give us your bottles and cans.”

In addition to the bottle drive, they will be holding a yard sale June 26 at 140 Church Street. You will be encouraged to come and meet Kylee and bring bottles or cans that day as well.   If they achieve their fundraising goal, they will donate the rest of the proceeds to Autism Ontario, but for now, it’s about getting to the $6000,  and, the sooner the better.

The family would like to recognize everyone that has donated so far, including the Holiday Inn and Heyden Dump. Summit Church is donating tables for next weekends sale.

If you would like to donate, you can reach out to Jen Buchan on Facebook, drop them off at 140 Church and knock on the door, or leave a comment below.

Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to connect you with issues in your community.


  1. Ridiculous as the government pays for drug users to use but not this. Right!! Things need to change, and soon. Just sickening !

  2. Ridiculous as the government will pay for sex change surgery which costs a lot more and is most certainly ‘cosmetic’.

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