Time to celebrate

March 15, 2017
A birthday for two is coming up soon
Nicole Cadger, Alexie, Tara and Jacob Gelinas

There’s gonna be a big birthday party in Capreol, Ont. – hopefully next week.

That’s when the Gelinas family expects they’ll get the go-ahead from doctors to go home, after three weeks at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto.

Little Jacob had heart surgery on March 2 to treat his congenital heart condition. He was still in the hospital when his third birthday came around on March 6 and he wasn’t much up for cake and candles. March 16 is his mom Tara’s birthday, but she doesn’t want to celebrate before Jacob gets his own proper party.

Birthdays are cherished in the Gelinas family. They are tight-knit group, especially since Jacob’s birth in 2014. Jacob was born with an underdeveloped right side of his heart and has required three major surgeries over his three short years. The Gelinas family, which includes five-year-old big sister, Alexie, and dad, Jeremie, has been back and forth to Toronto for treatment over much of his life.

Their grandmother, Nicole Cadger, has joined them at the House on most occasions.

“I would do anything for my children,” says Nicole, “but the grandkids are even more precious.” Grandma and grandpa, Tara’s dad Norm, welcomed Tara and Jeremie into their home in Sudbury for two years after Jacob was born to give the family extra support.

“My kids love their ‘mémèlle’,” says Tara. That’s what Jacob and Alexie call their grandmother. It’s their unique spin on the French-Canadian ‘mémère’. “They ask to go see her every weekend.”

The family has been so grateful for the support of RMHC Toronto that when Tara recently heard about the opening of our Family Room in Sudbury, she immediately told Nicole about it. Nicole became one of the first volunteers to sign up.

“As soon as I heard, I said I’m doing this,” says Nicole. “I sent in my application right away.” When not at the House in Toronto, Nicole now volunteers every Saturday, supporting other families like hers, in Sudbury. It’s her way of giving back.

RMHC Toronto is grateful, and looks forward to hearing about the family’s many happy birthdays to come.