Meet Felicity Caines of Rattling Brook, NL
It is hard to put into words how a parent feels when their child has been diagnosed with serious illness, and for families who don’t live close to the medical care and resources they need, there is an added stress, distance. RMHC NL gives families with a sick child what they need most – each other.
Three year old Felicity Caines of Rattling Brook, NL was a typical little girl who loved to play with her dogs and ride her scooter . But in March 2022, she wasn’t herself. She started having reoccurring fevers, belly aches, vomiting, weight loss, and days with no energy.
“There were times when she would sleep for 18 hours of the day, she could hardly get off the sofa. If we went anywhere I would have to carry her cause she was so weak and her leg was sore.” said Amy Caines, Felicity’s mom.
There were months of doctors visits, hospitalization and tests with no answers, until an urgent referral was sent to St. John’s in December.
“I got a call on January 3, 2023. The pediatric hospital in St. John’s needed to see Felicity as soon as possible. Our small town of Rattling Brook is a five and half hour drive to St. John’s, there was a lot to think about including finding childcare for my two older boys Mason and Brayden. So I packed up our bags and travelled there within a few days. Felicity, now four years old, was admitted the next day. “Amy continued.
After several x-rays, bone scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) her diagnosis was still inconclusive. So the next step was a bone marrow test.
“My nerves were shot just thinking about the procedure. Then it hit me that something was seriously wrong. When the doctor came in, I asked if it could be arthritis. I was told to take a seat. He said it was much worst then that, it is leukemia. All of a sudden we were on this journey that no one wants to be on, but it became our new reality really quickly.” said Amy.
The treatment plan would consist of different cycles of medications and chemotherapy treatments over the course of an 8-10 month timeframe, depending on any unforeseen delays.
“I was filled with mixed emotions. I had already been off work for 36 weeks and was supposed to go back to work in the same day I found out Felicity had leukemia. I wondered how we were going to do it. My sister took my oldest son Mason to live with her. She would of taken both boys but she works full time, so my youngest son, Brayden, stayed with his grandparents. All I can say is thank goodness for Ronald McDonald House. Our family was together and near the hospital.” Amy continued. “I don’t know what we would have done if it wasn’t for Ronald McDonald House.”
The family have only spent two nights in their home since January, Felicity missed her kinder start program, attending one class, and with her immune system weak she cannot go in places where there are a lot of people.
“It’s been great at Ronald McDonald House. Talking to other families, volunteers and staff on a really difficult day is the best medicine. I was totally amazed at everything Ronald McDonald House has to offer. From being close to the hospital, to the rooms, to the food, to the volunteers and employees. The people here are like family.” Amy Caines
“Without RMHC, I’m not sure what we would have done. In January, we received the devastating news that Felicity had been diagnosed with Leukemia and would need to undergo 8-9 months of treatment at Jane Way in St. John’s. Our world was completely shattered. But thanks to the incredible volunteers and generous donations made to RMHC over the years, we have been able to stay in St. John’s without worrying about the financial burden of paying for a hotel or having to sell our home and relocate. The support provided by RMHC has allowed us to focus solely on Felicity’s treatment and well-being. We are eternally grateful to everyone who has helped and continues to support RMHC. Your contributions have made an immeasurable difference in our lives during this incredibly difficult time. Thank you.” – Chris Caines, Felicity’s Dad
Felicity still has a long road ahead of her filled with medical appointments and chemotherapy treatments . With the family living more than 500km away from our provinces’ only pediatric hospital, they have come to rely on the programs and services at Ronald McDonald House to keep their family together and near the medical care and resources Felicity needs.