On Thursday, July 11, 2013, at CHEO, our life as we knew it changed in an instant.
At the age of 9, our son Alex was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Alex’s only symptoms were facial paralysis and bumps on his head. Preliminary testing
also revealed a 12 cm mass in his chest putting pressure on his heart and left lung. Eighty
percent of his bone marrow was cancerous. Cancer was also found in his blood and his
spinal fluid. The good news was that the prognosis for survival was 85%.
Alex’s father, Claude, moved into Ronald McDonald House across the street from CHEO
the next day. We went on to live at Ronald McDonald House for the next ten months.
Claude, Alex and Cheryl Tourangeau
As you enter Ronald McDonald House the first thing that you notice is how warm and homey it looks and feels. The decor is comfortable and relaxed. The staff and volunteersare friendly and welcoming, never intruding but always there for you.
The many volunteers that come in and cook for the families make life so much easier, especially after a challenging day at CHEO. The games room and library give all members of the family a place to go for distractions. The common kitchen and TV room often become bonding places for the parents of sick kids – different diagnosis, same emotional roller coaster ride.
The friends that we made at Ronald McDonald House have become friends for life – family by choice, not blood.
Although we moved back home to Cornwall in May 2014, we have had to return to CHEO on a number of occasions and we have been able to stay at Ronald McDonald House each time. Our most recent stay was in December 2016, when Alex had surgery to remove his port. Each time we go into Ronald McDonald House it feels like coming home.
In November 2016, Alex completed his treatment for leukemia – 1,152 doses of chemo, 10 sessions of radiation, 27 lumbar punctures with chemo – celebrating life has never been greater.
Ronald McDonald House believes in keeping families close – and they do it with love.
Click on the links below to learn more about Alex's journey.