Our family was first introduced to Ronald McDonald House Toronto in September 2010 when our son Coleton was born at Mount Sinai at only 28 weeks gestation. I remember a huge feeling of fear and uncertainty as we gazed upon our teeny-tiny two pound baby boy. Travelling from Nottawa, Ontario, we found ourselves two hours away from home with nowhere to stay.
Coleton had many complications at birth. He needed support to breathe, feed and grow. As a family we were clinging to each other and approached life one day at a time. Uncertain of where we would stay, we put a call into Ronald McDonald House Toronto. Unfortunately there was no room.
Desperate to stay close to Coleton, I took temporary refuge with relatives. My husband Trevor returned home to work.
Then came a day I will never forget -- the day I got the call from Ronald McDonald House Toronto. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted. Delighted and relieved, I anxiously walked two blocks from the hospital to claim our room at the House. Trevor and I knew that this “home away from home” was going to make life a lot easier.
With premature babies it’s always one step forward and three giant steps back. Coleton’s recovery was very slow with several complications making his journey a challenge. For almost two months Coleton was so fragile that I couldn’t even hold him. I took comfort in reading, talking and singing to him everyday to let him know how much he was loved.
I cannot begin to tell you what Ronald McDonald House Toronto meant to my family. Being greeted every morning by a kind volunteer wishing me a good day and returning to a smiling face that gently asked how my day was may seem simple to some but it was valuable beyond measure. Coming into the common kitchen at night to meet up with other parents and share our triumphs and tribulations was very therapeutic.
We made some wonderful lifelong friends at the House.