Ronald McDonald House
February 3, 2012
Sometimes a person can touch your heart without ever knowing that they have.
Last December, my mom and I stopped by Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald House to talk with Martin Dugas and his team about doing some work with them. I had never been in to one of the Ronald McDonald houses but I knew a little bit about the services they provide to families from out of town who need a place to stay when they are in the city with a sick child undergoing treatment for a life threatening illness. They took us on a tour and by the time it was done, I was inspired by what I had seen and also had a far greater appreciation for what the Ronald McDonald houses are doing for these families.
While we were there, we got to meet a little girl named Keira from Peace River. She was so sweet – shy but still confident about her place in the world. Keira has Stage 4 Lymphoblastic Lymphoma… or to put it more simply; she has cancer. She was staying at the house with her family for a second time and was exploring the house while her exhausted mom was having a nap. Martin shared a story with us about Keira that I have thought about so many times since that day. Keira had been selected by the Make a Wish Foundation to be part of their program and when asked what she wished for, Keira surprised everyone by saying she wanted to go to Africa to help the babies there like her mother (a nurse) had done some time before that. They explained to Keira that as much as they would love to send her to Africa, they just couldn’t because of her medical situation and the possibility that she might be exposed to disease that her weakened immune system couldn’t handle. So they asked her to make a second wish and after thinking about that, she said that she wanted to fly the daughter of her nanny here from the Philippines to visit because she knew her nanny missed her daughter so much.
Keira is obviously a very special girl with a big heart and I was lucky enough to get to meet her again when I was invited by the Ronald McDonald House to perform at the 2012 Hair Massacure event at West Edmonton Mall. Keira and her friend Ruby (a friend and fellow cancer patient) joined me on stage for my last song and it was a pretty special moment. I smiled each time the girls twirled and the crowd cheered.
Keira’s cancer is in remission and she is doing well but the doctors have now discovered a large blood clot on her heart that her cancer is making difficult to treat. She continues to receive treatment for both the cancer and the blood clot so she will be a ‘regular’ at the house for a while yet.
So… if you are wondering about a really good cause that you could support this year, I hope you’ll call the Ronald McDonald House and stop in there one day to check out their beautiful facility. And… I hope you get to meet a child like Keira who will touch your heart and make you glad you stopped by.