Mom Carolyn shares her gratitude to RMHC Toronto donors for keeping her family close through not one, but two Christmases spent far from home.

For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to stay home — but my family and I did the opposite. In June 2020, we had to travel more than 1,400 kms away from our home in Holtsville, NB, so that my son, Josiah, could have a life-saving heart transplant.

Josiah was only two days old when he had his first surgery in Halifax. Then, when he was five months old, doctors told us that Josiah would need a life-saving transplant that could be only be performed at one of three specialized hospitals in Canada.

We had to act quickly in case a heart became available for Josiah. I dropped everything to make the journey with him to Toronto, leaving my husband, Aaron, at home to wrap up loose ends and take care of Josiah’s older brother, Emmett.

When doctors told me that we could be waiting for up to a year for Josiah’s new heart, my worry about our situation grew. My son needed a new heart to live, but we didn’t want our family to be split up. Finding accommodations for four in Toronto for a year would be expensive.

Thankfully, our hospital team helped us secure a room at RMHC Toronto. Because of the kindness of donors, we were given beds to sleep in, hot meals after a long day at the hospital, and so much more. Most importantly, our family could be reunited.

It’s because of RMHC Toronto’s generous donors that our family had hope during the most difficult time in our lives.

A few months after we arrived at the House, Aaron and Emmett were able to join us.

Little did we know we would end up waiting two years for Josiah’s heart transplant. And while we waited, we spent not one, but two Christmases away from friends and family.

Back home in New Brunswick, one tradition we love is getting together for a big Christmas Eve breakfast with our large extended family. As our first Christmas at the House approached, Aaron and I were worried about how we would make the holidays special for the boys while we were away from home. Luckily, the staff at RMHC Toronto took care of everything — from a delicious turkey dinner to Santa delivering presents to the boys.

The magic of the season found us, and we are so grateful to RMHC Toronto for making the holidays special for our young family. When you support RMHC Toronto, you are giving families like ours everything they need to get through a difficult time, including each other.

Josiah received his new heart in May 2022 and is continuing his recovery at home. The boys are excited to decorate our Christmas tree and have already asked how Santa will find them because they aren’t at RMHC Toronto.

Thanks to donors like you, our family was able to celebrate Josiah’s first two Christmases together. We’ll never forget your generosity.

This holiday season, giving the Gift of Nights is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give. Your support helps bring a little cheer to families far from home this year. To make a gift, please visit: