One of the gang

February 22, 2018
Sophia's confidence has flourished at RMHC Toronto
Sophia Terry

Pre-adolescence is a tough time to feel different, and that’s something 10-year-old Sophia Terry has had to confront as she goes through chemotherapy treatments for Burkitt’s Leukemia. Being sick separates her from her peers, and her hair loss has made her self-conscious of her appearance.

There’s a place where Sophia doesn’t have to feel different though. At Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto, she’s just one of the gang.

“The more time Sophia has spent at the House, the more confident she’s become,” says her mom, Yuniarti. “At first she was embarrassed of how she looks, but now she’s met and befriended other sick children and realizes that she’s not alone.”

Yuniarti and Sophia Terry

Companionship and support are welcome feelings for the Terry family as they go through this unexpected trauma. They first stayed at RMHC Toronto in September when Sophia received her leukemia diagnosis and began treatment within hours. She and her mom have stayed here uninterrupted since November, while dad, Mark, travels back and forth from Timmins for work. Sophia just completed her sixth, and hopefully final, round of high-dose chemotherapy.

“This has been a very difficult time for us, and particularly for Sophia,” says Yuniarti. “She took the news of her diagnosis very hard and has suffered through many side effects of chemo. She’s endured constant pain, screaming and crying every time they tried to take her blood. So to see her sprits completely change by coming to the House has meant a lot to me.”

Sophia has thrived here by attending the RMHC Toronto School and making new friends. She loves our craft and woodworking programs and her mom can make her favourite foods in the kitchen.

“As soon as she comes back to the House from the hospital, she feels free. She feels happy. She comes home and says, ‘I like this place Mommy.’”

Yuniarti likes this place too because it has kept her connected to her family. Not just her immediate family, but her extended one as well.

“We are always inviting our friends and family to come visit us here for dinner and for holidays,” she says. “We invite them to our House because we can’t go to theirs right now. They come visit and we can spend some private, quality, unlimited time together. It’s not like going to a restaurant for a meal. Here, this is our home.

“Thank you to the donors who make this all possible.”