My daughter was born with a rare genetic disease called Osteopetrosis. We had no idea that she had this because the pregnancy and birth was all normal. It wasn’t until she was two months old that her health started to show signs of this disease. After a month of medical procedures and different diagnoses we ended up with her having a seizure which led us to the emergency room in Windsor. Here they had no idea what was happening other than her calcium was very low. She became critical and they needed to send a team from London to come get her to bring her to the Paediatric Critical Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital. We were sent home to grab a few things and left for London right away. We left our 2yr old son with his grandparents because we had no idea what was to come next. The doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. One said it actually scared him that he didn’t have an idea of what it was. This was scary. We slept in a quiet room the first night and we didn’t get a moment’s rest as we were full of worry. The next night we were accepted into the Ronald McDonald House. We held back tears as we toured the house. It was warm and friendly and a place to call home. We couldn't believe how great it was. We ended up staying there for 2 weeks the weeks before Christmas. It was happy there, it gave us some relief. We were always greeted with a smile. It was a stress relief that we didn't need to think of food it was always there ready for us when we needed it. We were released home from the hospital with no diagnosis a week before Christmas. They wanted us to be home trying to live normally for Christmas. The Ronald McDonald House provided us with a toy for each kid and a small gift for each of us because we had no time to shop. This was a lifesaver. I cannot explain how grateful we were to have had this charity help us. We have been in and out of London’s Ronald McDonald House many times in the past 2 years. At 6 months old my daughter finally got a diagnosis. They said she needed a bone marrow transplant to live and we were racing against time to get her one because the disease acts fast. We were sent to Toronto where we lived there in that Ronald McDonald House for 3 months. Toronto is also a wonderful place. When we were lucky enough to be released to London, we lived there for 2 more weeks before going home. My children truly believe the Ronald McDonald House is their second home. My son still talks about it and how he loved it there and wants to go back for a visit. We were truly blessed to have these Houses, I really don’t know what we would do without them. I could go on and on with this story but it would totally be more than 500 words. We are just truly grateful and have vowed to give back to them when and where we can.
- The Ducharme family
Learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwestern Ontario