As has been the case so often in the past, Humboldt and area are stepping up to help in a time of need. The latest mission is to help a little girl and her family overcome the challenges of her critical health care. 

Meet three-year-old Annataya Nahnepowisk-Brown, affectionately known as Anna to her family. According to her father, Andrew Brown, Anna was born with hypoplastic left heart, a condition in which the left side of Anna’s heart simply stopped developing pre-birth. That means that the right side of her heart is left with the work of supplying blood to the body. The situation was diagnosed prenatally, so Anna was instantly set to undergo a series of procedures on her birth. 

“What her treatment  entailed was special surgeries to make the right side capable of doing both functions,” explains Brown, who is Anna’s sole supporting parent. “They add all sorts of tubes and shunts that help the blood do what it’s supposed to do.” 

Those tubes help to maintain circulation, but they are by no means a cure to the condition which could compromise her ability to breathe and circulate oxygen. The condition causes her to be fatigued at times.  However, Anna is otherwise a robust, active and charming little girl who loves nothing more than to play and help her dad and grandparents with clean up. 

The ongoing treatments, most of which are in Saskatoon and Edmonton, require an ongoing travel schedule that keeps Andrew and Anna frequently on the road. When the Browns ran into trouble keeping a reliable vehicle on the road, word came to Colleen Cornelius, manager of Humboldt’s A and W restaurant. Always set to lend a hand, Cornelius connected with local community members to start the chain of support going. 

“How could you not help?” said Cornelius whose background as a nurse gave her an understanding of the circumstance. When she learned of the need to replace the Browns’ current vehicle, she contacted Dan Hinz of Dan Wheels in Muenster who in turn went to work securing a suitable car to make available at well below market value.

That being done, Cornelius got in touch with Humboldt Mayor Michael Behiel for his assistance with fundraising and communications. Behiel made overtures to community and corporate partners, one of whom is already on board with encouraging its employees and partners to make donations. Others are activating plans for support.

“When Colleen approached me I said this is something the community should be involved in,” said Behiel. “It’s one of those things when I said we’re trying to create a unification of the community so that we all exist as one, and recognizing when one of us needs help, we should chip in and do what we can.”

The travel itinerary and the treatments won’t change soon for the little girl and her father. Her grandparents and brother, along with local friends, have lent support. Now Brown, who is a two-year resident of Humboldt, feels the force on an entire community in his corner.

“It feels amazing actually,” confessed Brown, who spoke about Colleen Cornelius’ act of outreach along with the community response. “Colleen was a stranger to me; I’d never met her before today, so it's a little overwhelming, but at the same time, I’m so grateful for it.”

While Anna and her brother Dane admired the giant helium filled Mickey Mouse Cornelius brought into the restaurant for the meet and greet, the family chatted and connected with the community that has taken to heart the needs of a little one who lights up any room she walks into. 

To help raise funds for Anna’s transportation needs and support, please connect with the following donation options:


Go Fund Me link:

For corporate donations, an account has been set up at the Royal Bank in Humboldt.