April 19, 2017
Twins Koa and Nora are going home for the first time
When Aleasha Shorts and Shane Evelyn left their house on Nov. 3, 2016, they never could’ve anticipated that it would be six long months before they would return. Despite having only positive ultrasounds leading up to the birth of their twins, Koa and Nora, the delivery took a dramatic turn: Nora had a heart attack.
“It was terrifying,” says Aleasha. “Nora had to be put on life support for five days. When they took her off, the right side had repaired itself, but the left was only functioning at 20 per cent.”
Nora was moved to the critical care unit to give the left side of her heart a chance to repair itself. To stay as close to her as possible, her family checked in to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto.
“The House is where I ate my first meal in five days,” recalls Aleasha. “I just couldn’t bring myself to eat while Nora was on life support, and then I arrived at the House to a home-cooked meal.”
“The Home for Dinner meals are a godsend,” says Shane.
After 32 days and little healing, Nora was listed for a heart transplant. That began a long period of anxious waiting. Nora’s family was relieved when she was released from the hospital to wait for a heart at RMHC Toronto.
“Being together during that time was huge,” says Aleasha. “It was very stressful and she was so sick. But RMHC Toronto allowed us to be close to the hospital while also having some real family time.”
On April 2, Nora’s family got the call: a heart had been found. Her transplant was performed the next day and went amazingly well. “Best case scenario, no complications,” says Shane.
Nora was released from the hospital after just six days. Now she’s back at RMHC Toronto, looking better than ever and having lots of cuddles with her twin brother.
“They love each other,” says Aleasha. “Even when Nora was in critical care, the nurses would let us put Koa in her bed to sleep beside her. Now we get to see them interact, grabbing each other’s hands and babbling to one another. It’s very cute.”
The family is hoping to return to Hamilton this weekend, finally introducing the twins to their own home. Reflecting on their time at RMHC Toronto, Aleasha and Shane are feeling grateful for the support they’ve received.
“We would have gone broke staying at a hotel, or been like another couple we know who slept in the waiting room at the hospital,” says Shane.
“This House has been our home for five and a half months,” adds Aleasha. “I can’t imagine what we would’ve done without it.”