Family is medicine and right now its helping three-year-old Ryder Renouf of Cape St. George, NL, fight cancer at Ronald McDonald House
It is hard to put into words how a parent feels when their child has been diagnosed with cancer. It has to be one of the most difficult experiences for a family. And for families who don’t live close to the medical care and resources they need, there is an added stress, distance. RMHC gives families with a sick child what they need most – each other.
In the early months of 2022, Ryder was often not feeling well. It would start like the common cold and then go away. Fast forward to April, Ryder started spiking high fevers, complaining of pain and stopped eating. That’s when his parents, Ashley and Ian, knew that something wasn’t right.
After spending 2 nights in the Corner Brook hospital, which was already two hours away from their home in Cape St. George, the pediatrician indicated that Ryder’s bloodwork was concerning and they would need to travel to the Janeway Children’s Hospital or further testing.
“My mind instantly went into panic mode because we didn’t know what was wrong with Ryder, and we also have a daughter Brynlee and a brand new puppy to think about.” said Ryder’s mom Ashley
Later Ryder was diagnosed with Leukemia. Their world was turned upside down. Ryder has been taken away from his extended family, friends, his preschool and playing outside, to spending long days at the hospital receiving treatments in another city hours away from home. Brynlee’s life changed too. To complete grade 1, she needed to transfer schools to St. John’s.
“I’ve always heard of RMHC and seen advertising but didn’t know exactly what RMHC entailed. When our social worker sat down and explained what RMHC was all about, that’s when we knew this was where we needed to be during this long road ahead.“ Ashley continued.
Ashley and Ian have meet several other families who are going through the same or a similar illness with their children. “It’s nice to be able to talk to them about it and share stories or resources! The volunteers and staff are always going above and beyond to help us out when needed! You couldn’t ask for any better!” said Ashley Renouf
At Ronald McDonald House there are plenty of programs and resources to support families far from home with a sick child. “Being able to stay at the RMHC made things so much easier for my family. It meant that we could all be together and not have to stress at the cost or all the little things in daily life.” Ashley continued
While Ryder’s battle with cancer continues, with treatments expected to continue into 2025, the Renouf Family have come to rely on the programs and services at Ronald McDonald House to keep their family together.