It all started May 7th...
It was a Sunday afternoon when I started having some contractions that became closer and closer together. I told my husband, Kevin, that we better get to the hospital. Good thing I did, because at 6:28pm Max Adrian Rombouts made his arrival into this world. We left our house in Thedford thinking we were going to have a baby and be home in a day or two, but did that ever change. On May 9th Max was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia known as ALL. Our whole world changed in the split of a second.
We were told that Max would be in the hospital 6 - 8 months undergoing chemotherapy treatments. The first thought through my head was "we can do this", but then in the next breath I was thinking about my other 2 boys at home and how I was going to be able to stay close to my baby in London...
I didn't know it yet, but the answer to my question was Ronald McDonald House!
I knew about Ronald McDonald House as I have had family members stay there, but it never crossed my mind that I would need their services until all this happened with Max. I was able to get a room right away, just seconds away from my baby. The first time walking through those doors to check in to our room was so welcoming and just felt truely "homey". We had just been told Max's diagnosis. Looking back it's a bit of a blur to us now, but the FSC was so kind and showed us the important areas of the House before letting us be.
The first month of Max's treatments where heavy and made for some very long days at the hospital. Knowing that dinner was made for us over at the House was one less thing to worry about, and as a breast feeding mother eating healthy is very important.
I can't say how thankful I am for all the dinner groups and baking groups that go into the house to cook/bake for families. My husband comes from a large family and they all asked what they could do to help and a suggestion I made to them was to sign up to volunteer at the House. They have been twice now for baking nights and are coming in November to make a dinner.
We also had a group of family and friends come together and do a fundraiser with Thirty-One cooler bags for the House. There was 220 bags sold and they were filled with essential items that you would need on an unexpected stay. We have had others also make very generous donations in honour of Max and we can't say thank you enough to everyone.
It has been so nice to have the option of having my other kids stay with me, or even just visit me, while I have been here with Max. My oldest, Zac, has had a few sleepovers and he just loves it. Just to be able to sit together to eat breakfast and have a normal conversation like we would if we were at home is comforting. All the amenities that the House has to offer make everything a little less stressful.
My oldest had his birthday in September and the staff even got him a birthday present. It proves that they aren't there to just work, they are there to be family to you and show love and compassion. Every night when I would walk in late whoever was sitting in the office would say good night to me and warm my heart. It's nice to hear a simple good night after a long day in the hospital.
Our three programs, RMH London, RMH Windsor and the RM Family Room London were able to provide supportive services to 4,517 families with sick kids.
RMHC-SWO provided 15,990 nights of comfort to families keeping them close to their child’s specialized medical care.
Each night a family stays close at RMH it is estimated they save $183 on accommodations, meals and other home comforts.
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