Help keep families together while their sick child is treated at a nearby hospital.
The Chikuse Family
During her treatment, Tanya and her family stayed over 220 nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Southern Alberta. But when she found out she would be strong enough to go home, she felt bittersweet about leaving the House.
RMHC Alberta, Calgary House
Distance from home
Nights spent with RMHC
“… thank you Ronald McDonald House. You will always be our home away from home."
Tanya and her family stayed over 220 nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Southern Alberta.
In 2012, 12-year-old Tanya Chikuse, usually full of energy and life, started feeling lethargic and unwell. “I would walk up the stairs in our house and I would be so tired,” said Tanya. After a visit to the doctor and several blood tests, she was diagnosed with Franconi Anemia, an inherited disease that affects the bone marrow. Undetected, it can lead to Leukemia. Tanya’s best chance for a cure was in Calgary, so the family arrived there on October 29, 2013. Calgary was a long way from her home in Fort McMurray (an eight hour drive) and after her surgery, Tanya had to stay close to the hospital for at least 100 days until her immune system was strong enough and she could go home. Tanya and her family stayed over 220 nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Southern Alberta.
Tanya’s parents, Spiewe and Shorayi were taking turns staying with Tanya in Calgary, while the other worked in Fort McMurray. Tanya hadn’t seen her mom in almost a month. “I miss my mom so much,” Tanya said. “Hopefully we can go shopping to get a Father’s Day present for dad. He needs some new ties... and maybe some skinny jeans.” Thanks to a partnership between Westjet and RMHC Canada, Tanya and her dad were able to surprise her mom and sister with a flight so they could all be together for a weekend in Southern Alberta.
Their surprised reactions were indescribable, but Tanya’s mom did say, “I can’t believe it! God Bless you WestJet! And thank you Ronald McDonald House. You will always be our home away from home.”
Fortunately, Tanya found out not long after that she would be strong enough to be with her parents at home in Fort McMurray. She felt bittersweet though leaving the House. After staying for over seven months, she had spent a birthday there, come to love “Bingo Nights” and met many people who inspired her. “They spoiled me just a little,” she said with a laugh.
Whether your family needs to stay for three nights or many months like Tanya’s, Ronald McDonald House is here to be your home away from home, keeping you close to your child and the care they need.