October 18, 2014
Meet Nick and His Family from Labrador
In 2006, at the age of 4, Nick Clarke of Goose Bay was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and the family had to relocate to St John’s for nearly 7 months in hotels. At that time, Nick did 3 1/2 years of chemo treatments in Goose Bay and St John’s. 7 years later, at the age of 12, Nick relapsed. This time Ronald McDonald House was their home away from home.
“A mom fixes everything”…except cancer.
The days leading up to the end of the school year in 2013 Nick just wasn’t himself. His parents took him to the local hospital for bloodwork & waited anxiously for the results to settle their worried hearts. It never came.
Nick finished Grade 6 on a Friday and the following Monday he and his mom, Debbie, flew to St John’s because his oncologist was concerned. Within a few, days they were told that Nick’s cancer was back.
“When I was told he relapsed I was angry, the angriest I had ever been in my life. I was angry that he had to go through all the chemo treatments again; angry we had to leave home and live in St John’s again; angry that I had to call his dad back home in Goose Bay and tell him; angry because we had to tell his two younger brothers aged 5 and 7 and his baby sister aged 4; angry at the thought of the financial struggles that comes with battling cancer; angry that my family was torn apart the very moment his doctor told me; angry Nick and I wouldn’t be home for at least one year; and most of all angry that as his mom, I couldn’t make it better.
There was light on that dark day when we were referred to stay at Ronald McDonald House. When we went to the house for the very first time, I was overwhelmed with the sense of “welcome home” I felt. The staff, the volunteers, the other families are all vital in making Ronald McDonald House what it is.
Where else can you stay where you are continuously welcomed with a smile, a hug when you need it, a hot meal and baked goods…HOME is where you can expect it! Home at Ronald McDonald House”. explained Debbie.
Nick was still admitted to hospital during Christmas, so his dad, his brothers and his sister came to St. John’s. Nick was so excited! The hospital gave him a pass on Christmas Eve, to spend the holidays with his family at Ronald McDonald House. They hung their stockings and on Christmas morning the family woke up together at their home-away-from-home!
“We are so fortunate that Ronald McDonald House has not only been there for Nick and me, but for our whole family. My husband, Mike, and our kids have stayed at the House several times in the last year and they love it there. Ronald McDonald House has been our “home” for most of the last 15 months and I refuse to think what this journey would have been like without it.
I’m not angry anymore. How can I be when Nick is doing well and responding to treatments; when Nick has amazing nurses and doctors; when my Mom has basically moved into our home to help care for our other three children; when both our employers have been very supportive; when our family and friends have been there to help; when our community has helped to ease our financial burdens. We have our faith but most of all we have a home-away-from-home at Ronald McDonald House.
Thank you to everyone that in any way supports Ronald McDonald House. I have met families from all over the province, with all sorts of medical issues. This is truly a “home” for sick children and their families. ” expressed Debbie.