NANAIMO — Sandy Barlow and her family learned firsthand the important role Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon plays after their son Kai required more than one stay at Children's Hospital.
Sandy shared this about her experience:
Kai was born with a heart defect (a very deformed mitral valve) that was not detected until he was six-months-old.
He needed open heart surgery and quite quickly.
RMH was our sanctuary throughout his surgery and recovery. During his surgery he had a mechanical mitral valve placed and ever since then he has needed to be on medications, including warfarin which took some time to stabilize before he was discharged from the hospital.
He was then able to join us at RMH to heal and stay close to BC Children's for his various follow up appointments and in case he had any complications. Returning to the island during this time was not an option.
The support of the house from the staff who welcome you, to the volunteers including the community groups who make so many dinners really do make you feel loved and cared for.
The fact that RMH is on the same campus as BC Children's hospital brings a bit more peace when you sleep knowing your child is close in case they need you while in the ICU or if something goes wrong. It also allowed me and my husband to rotate spending time at Kai's bedside and have a close place to sleep, take a shower and a bite to eat.
It helped to keep us strong and close.
A few months later Kai's mechanical valve clotted and he was airlifted from Nanaimo Hospital to Children's for emergency treatment to save his life.
Everything was so chaotic, rushed and disorientating.
Once Kai was at Children's in the ICU and stabilized, it was so amazing to walk across the parking lot to RMH and not have to explain the relief or concern, just had someone say “welcome”.
I can not stress enough how important RMH is to families. When your child is in BC Children's all you want to do is stay close and when home is far away, to be able to keep your family together is key for everyone staying healthy.
For over 30 years, Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon has been providing accommodation for seriously ill children and their families when they must travel to Vancouver for their child’s major treatment.
Their new campaign hopes to encourage people to Gift A Moment to a family in need. As part of our support of the program, we'll be sharing a series of four stories from local families whose lives have been impacted by RMH BC.