Milo's Miracle

January 24, 2018
Milo's cousins raised $17,150 for RMHC Toronto
Cheque presentation at RMHC Toronto

Last October, a group of children set out to raise $500 for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto in honour of their cousin. Three months later, they’ve raised an astonishing $17,150. You could call it a miracle. Or a “Milo’s Miracle,” to be exact.

This story began on Sept. 8, 2017 when Milo Spahich was born. Milo has a congenital heart defect, so his first days were spent at SickKids in Toronto. His mom, Megan, was at Mount Sinai Hospital, where Milo was delivered, leaving his dad, Dave, running between two hospitals, both hours away from their home in Southampton, Ont. The family’s saving grace was RMHC Toronto.

“It was ideal to stay next door to both hospitals so I was able to visit at all hours of the day,” says Dave.
 
Milo had heart surgery on day five of his life, then recovered at the House with his parents until the end of September. When they were finally able to go home, Milo’s cousins were beyond excited to meet him. And, they heard all about this wonderful place called RMHC Toronto.

Milo Spahich and his cousins

“Megan and Dave told the kids how fortunate they were to only have to stay at the House for a few weeks, because there are families who have to stay for months and months, and sometimes without both parents,” recalls Lisa Kaminski, Megan’s sister and mom to Ethan, 10, Dylan, 9, and Kian, 7. “That really affected them.”

With Halloween just around the corner, Ethan devised a plan to raise money for RMHC Toronto in honour of Milo. He, his brothers and their cousins Rylli, Hadlei and Deakon Clark decided they would ask for donations instead of candy this year, hoping to raise $500.

“They each took a soap container and taped on a string to go around their necks,” says Lisa. “They went door to door and explained why they were raising money. Most people gave change, but then someone handed them a five-dollar bill and they screamed. They thought they had won the lottery!”

Ethan Kaminski counting money

Ethan and company also handed out little cards inviting people to donate online. They created a custom fundraising page called “Milo’s Miracle” on MakeFunMatter.ca, an easy-to-use platform to raise money for Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. They hit their $500 goal and Ethan kept checking every day to watch it grow. He asked his mom to share the page on Facebook, and then Milo’s Miracle really took off.

In the weeks that followed, Milo’s cousins rallied their community of Kincardine, Ont. behind their cause. Ethan, Dylan and Rylli made a presentation to their school and organized a silent auction and bake sale at a hockey game. Donations from local businesses, raffles and more online fundraising followed, resulting in a grand total of $17,150 for families like Milo’s at RMHC Toronto.

Milo’s family has actually been back to the House again, staying for three weeks in December while he had another heart surgery. They are touched and proud of their family for all of their hard work.

“We were really excited that the kids found a way to be involved in our journey,” says Dave. “I can see how they’ve grown in a short amount of time. It’s instilled empathy in them and changed their outlook.”

Lisa agrees. “The learning they are getting out of this experience is amazing. They’re so proud and plan to continue fundraising until Milo’s first birthday in September. They talk a lot about how having family around you when you’re sick helps you feel better, and that’s what RMHC Toronto does.”

To start your own fundraiser like Milo’s Miracle, visit MakeFunMatter.ca.