How RMHC Toronto kept the Mitchell family together during Jayden’s treatment

The Mitchells are a happy, loving family, who enjoy being together and are quick to laugh. To meet them, you would never know that the Barrie, Ont., residents have been contending with the illness of their youngest child, Jayden.

Although Jayden is now an energetic toddler who loves to run around and play with his older brother, Jaxon, the first 18 months of his life were much different, filled with hospital and doctor’s visits.

In September of 2021, Jayden was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), meaning he can have episodes of an irregularly fast heartbeat. While this is usually a diagnosis that can be well controlled with medication, normal treatment wasn’t working and, after multiple trips to their local doctor and emergency room, Jayden was admitted to the Cardiology Unit at SickKids Hospital.

Once Jayden was receiving treatment at SickKids, his parents, Stephanie and Ryan, were relieved to have specialized doctors helping their son. But as Jayden’s stays at the hospital were getting longer with each visit, a social worker referred them to RMHC Toronto.

Jayden’s parents stayed at the House for 13 days in July of 2022 and an additional 7 days at the end of August when his condition became even more difficult to manage.

It was during their second stay that their five-year-old son, Jaxon, was able to join his parents at the House. Jaxon loved borrowing the PlayStation to play video games almost as much as he liked visiting his younger brother at the hospital.

“Having Jaxon join us was a big relief,” says Stephanie. “Not having to worry about organizing daycare, camp or shuffling Jaxon among family meant we could focus on supporting each other.”

Even while on the strongest medications, Jayden was still experiencing episodes, so his doctors decided the best treatment would be for him to undergo surgery for a cardiac ablation to try and restore a regular heartbeat. In October of 2022, the whole family packed their bags for a 20-day stay at RMHC Toronto to be there for Jayden during his surgery.

“Staying at Ronald McDonald House meant we could support Jayden better than we could have imagined,” says Stephanie. “Being so close to the hospital meant the world to us. But finding out how much additional support RMHC Toronto gives to families through the meal program, laundry facilities, and more, was incredible.”

After his surgery, Jayden recovered extremely fast and was moving around the very next day! Once the doctors were happy with Jayden’s progress after the procedure, the family was ready to go back home to Barrie and continue Jayden’s recovery.

“Of course, we missed home while we were in Toronto for Jayden’s treatment but we knew it would be worth it for all of us to be there for him. Our family loved staying at Ronald McDonald House Toronto, and it made it easier for us to be there for each other during Jayden’s treatment.”

– Ryan

Today, the Mitchells look back on their time at the House with a sense of relief and gratitude. Now, back at home, Jayden has recovered from surgery and learned to walk. The family is enjoying being close to family and friends and settling back into their lives at home.

Thanks to our donors, the family was together while young Jayden went through an unimaginably challenging time. When you support RMHC Toronto, you ensure that families like the Mitchells always have a place to stay together when a child needs lifesaving treatment. To make a donation to support families at RMHC Toronto, please visit our giving page here.