We came to Ronald McDonald House London around Christmas of 2011. My wife, Sue, had been a patient in the Children's Hospital in London for the previous 6.5 weeks in the anti-natal unit as they were trying to delay the premature birth of our son who was not due until the end of January.
We had had many complications prior to this, and basically thought that we were not going to be able to have another child. But, luckily we were.
On the wee morning hours of December 20th, I got the call that my wife was going to give birth soon and I had better get down now. My daughter Aurora and I had a 2.5 hour drive and we arrived as he was being born. I missed Anderson’s birth by minutes.
Not all was perfect in his world. My son was still born early and there were complications. He remained in the Children's Hospital for a few weeks. This is what brought us to RMH London.
Because we left home in such a hurry, I had to explain to my 7 year old daughter that Christmas might be a little different this year. I was not sure that Santa was going to visit us at RMH London, and to expect things to be different. The staff and volunteers at the House welcomed us with open arms and on Christmas morning we awoke to a sack full of gifts for everyone. It was totally unexpected. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about that morning.
We stayed at the House for a relatively short time after my son was born. The services they provided made staying near my wife (until she was released), and my son at the hospital much easier; I was able to bring breast milk to my son from my wife who was in a different part of the hospital for the first few days, and after my wife was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve it allowed her to recover close by to Anderson. I cannot put into words how much RMH London helped us during this time.
My daughter, Aurora, was profoundly impacted by these experiences. Every year since, she and some friends have worked to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwestern Ontario, donating $1,100 this year. She will also take some of her own money and purchases gifts to donate for the Christmas Shop that opens throughout the month of December. Over the past four years she and her friends have raised about $4,000, which we donate around my son's birthday.
We get together with a few of our friends, come down to London, and make a meal at the House as well – although they themselves have not needed RMH, they are without fail moved by the service and support offered to families in need.
Today, Anderson is doing quite well. He is now 4 years old and was able to start school last September!
Thanks again Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwestern Ontario.
Aurora and her friend Sarah holding a bake sale to raise money for the House.
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