NANAIMO — Maisie was four-years-old when what appeared to be a regular cold turned into sudden onset paralysis of her upper body.
As her mother Amy shared, it was that sudden change which started their experience with Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon:
Maisie was airlifted to Children’s Hospital immediately and her medical team raced to find the root cause.
The social worker found us a room at RMH. Maisie remained in hospital for six weeks so the House became our life raft.
All of our needs were met within the home. My husband and I would tag each other off so we could get a hot shower and rest in a cozy quiet room.
RMH was a place we could sneak away to have a meal and recharge. Our son was able to come on weekends from the island and participate in fun activities and meet other children with a sick sibling. Amazing staff and volunteers were there to help feed us, entertain the children and offer an ear.
We met so many other incredible families also going through difficult journeys. Sometimes we would discuss what was going on at the hospital and sometimes we wanted to talk about anything but that. Seeing as we were all in similar boats we were able to support each other in this way.
At the end of our day, however hard that day was, to sit down to a meal prepared by caring volunteers and look around the dining room to see a room full of families you’ve grown to know and care about and just feel the collective energy of the room is probably one of the most emotionally powerful experiences I’ve ever felt.
As Maisie started to gain mobility back she was eventually able to join us in the house which was a safe place for her to explore and an easier transition back into joining people.
She actually even took her first wobbly steps there.
You walk in the doors of RMH and it says “Welcome Home.”
And that’s exactly how it feels.
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.