A safe home for Siena

October 26, 2020
Randa shares her experience at RMHC Toronto with her three-year-old daughter, Siena.
Mom and child
Imagine being the parent of an immunocompromised child: trying to prevent a three-year-old from being exposed to harmful bacteria or germs, constantly washing your child’s hands and keeping them out of their mouth, sanitizing every toy and surface. This is my daily life as a mom with a child battling cancer. This is what I had to do even before COVID-19 was a risk to my daughter, Siena.

In February of this year, I found out that Siena’s cancer came back. The maintenance treatment for her first cancer diagnosis was almost complete and we were looking forward to celebrating that the cancer was gone. I was devastated that we had to leave our home in Halifax for more cancer treatments in Toronto.

It was scary enough watching my daughter battle cancer the first time. My heart sank when I realized we would be travelling to a big city in the middle of a pandemic to go through the treatment all over again.

Thanks to donors like you, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto gave me peace of mind and a safe place to call home.

RMHC Toronto is more than just a House. They also provide helpful services for families, like their school and day camp programs, and the Family Services staff who are always on-site. They even provide homemade meals delivered straight to my room, so I have enjoyed many delicious dinners when I return to the House after a long day at the hospital.

I know RMHC Toronto wouldn’t be here without donors like you. Thank you for making it possible for me to stay by my daughter’s side.

If it wasn’t for RMHC Toronto, I don’t know where we would be. Just the cost to stay at a hotel or condo would be a major financial burden even in the short term - and we don’t know how long we will be here. When you add to that the emotional burden of being alone with your sick child, far from home, the warmth and comfort of RMHC Toronto is priceless.

RMHC Toronto has enhanced safety procedures because of COVID-19, so I know it’s a safe place for Siena. Her favourite part of the House is the fish tank in the Family Lounge. She sings the fish to sleep before she goes to bed every night.

Our room is cozy and spacious, so we like to play and paint when she’s feeling like a typical active toddler, or we cuddle and watch TV when she is tired and not feeling well from her treatments.

My family is just one of the many families at RMHC Toronto who are managing the unthinkable. They are far away from home for their seriously ill child’s treatment – in the middle of a pandemic.

Please consider making a donation now to provide essential support for families who need it the most.

I know firsthand that your donation would make a world of difference for families going through the most difficult time in their lives. Every donation – no matter how big or how small – keeps families safe, healthy, and together.

Thank you so much for your care and compassion for families at RMHC Toronto. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

- Randa