Where Kael began to feel better

January 18, 2017
A beautiful letter of thanks from Kael's mom
Splitscreen of Kael Morrison in treatment and in present day


From November 2013 to January 2015, Kael Morrison’s family lived at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto while he recovered from a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. During this difficult period, RMHC Toronto was his family’s “safe haven for the soul.”

Today, Kael’s health is much more stable. His transplant was a success. At 10 years old, he’s growing and finally meeting some childhood milestones that were delayed by the transplant.

To say “thank you” to their “home away from home” and the people who support it, Kael’s mom, Emily, wrote this beautiful letter.

RMHC Toronto was once our home for more than 400 days while our son, Kael, battled a life-threatening immune deficiency and required a bone marrow transplant.

It was there that we found comfort and understanding in the faces around us. People facing battles as real and terrifying as ours, or the kind and compassionate employees and volunteers that took a moment to ask us how our day was, or just greet us with a smile and a nod as we trudged through the front doors at all hours of the night. They seemed to know when we didn’t want to answer any questions; they never held that against us.

It was there, too, that we were able to find solace and peace. Though the world around us seemed to be crumbling down, we could shut our door, tuck ourselves into our comfortable beds and feel wrapped in warmth and calm. It was there that we could hang up our capes, leave our strength at the door and surrender to all the tears begging to be released. It was there that we could rest, exhale and take a moment to find our center and strength to face the battles yet to come. 

The Morrison family

You see, at the hospital, at any given moment, day or night, someone can come and find you with “news.” You live in a constant anxious state, fearing a conversation that you do not want to have. 

At RMHC Toronto, we could gather perspective, refuel our tanks, grieve, hope; just be. It was there that the halls were quiet, void of the sounds of I.V pumps, monitors and feeding machines. It was there that the atmosphere and design worked cohesively to promote an environment of healing and rejuvenation.

It was there that we could wash soiled linens and stuffed best friends in the middle of the night. It was there that we could access the internet to send updates to our family and friends back home. It was there that we could visit with Leisa and benefit from her Shiatsu therapy – something that helped combat the countless hours of sitting in the stiff hospital chairs. It was there that we could enjoy a homemade meal, made by someone who truly cared.

It was there that we could bring our other children when they came to visit their brother. It remained a stable factor in a world of uncertainties. When all else seemed to be changing and the situation getting worse, RMHC Toronto remained a beacon of light and hope in their day. 

Kael and his two siblings at Ronald McDonald House

My kids loved the huge gymnasium where they could run and play. They loved the daily crafts with the Child Life experts and volunteers. They loved the playground and the fish tank. Most of all, they loved being noticed. The staff and volunteers always made sure to speak to them, include them and help them feel like an important part of this journey. And it was there that Kael could go to escape on passes from the hospital to enjoy some respite.

It was RMHC Toronto that helped us keep his childhood a childhood. It was RMHC Toronto that organized special visitors and programs, movies and events to bring joy to the children each and every day. It was there that he met Wolverine and began to feel like a normal seven-year-old boy again.

Kael meeting Wolverine

RMHC Toronto’s impact on our family will not soon be forgotten. It has forged a lasting impression on our hearts and will remain one of our charities of choice. We will continue to support it for many years to come, in various ways and at various times of the year.  It is our hope that one day the need for a home away from home will be a thing of the past. We wish upon shooting stars that all childhood ailments can be eliminated. 

Until then, we are grateful for organizations like this one that help keep families together and provide opportunities for children to be children while they can. No matter what struggles they face, they all deserve happiness.

Thank you to everyone who supports RMHC Toronto.

Leave a Comment

Michelle Jackson
It has been an astonishing journey and a privilege to be on it with Kael and his family. I am writing from NZ where we have been praying and hoping for miracles for Kael. I learned of his story through Susan Baldwin who is a vicar at my Mum's church in Darfield, NZ. His story touched our hearts and it is so heartwarming to see his recovery and to see him looking so well. I am glad all our postcards reached him and hope that in some small way it eased the pain even if only for a second.
22/01/2017 5:34:36 PM

Pat Clark Borden
I know you don't know who I am, but we are related. My mom and Aunt Gertie were sisters. I am so thrilled that Kael is doing much better. Sick Kids is an amazing place and so nice to see your family had RMHC. Forty years ago we had our experience with Sick Kids as our son was then one of their miracle children. It is a very long story so I will not go into the particulars only to say we still attend the hospital, only now we go across the street to the Toronto General and the Toronto Western. At the time we had to spend months and years there and there was no RMHC. I have heard so many wonderful things about that place and am so thankful that you had this there for you and the family as it is very expensive and lonely to be there on your own. I want you to know that I send prayers and hope to see Kael improve each day. We learned to live each day as a new one and take what was given to us. Our son still battles every day he is here, but enjoys his life to the fullest. all our love to your family
22/01/2017 11:46:32 AM

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