A growing bond

July 18, 2019
Sisters deepen attachment, thanks to RMHC Toronto
April and Emma
Eight-year-old Emma Brown learned how to whistle last week and it has sparked some loving rivalry with her 10-year-old sister, April.

The bond between the two girls is strong, and Carinta credits Ronald McDonald House Charites (RMHC) Toronto with bringing them even closer while Emma has been battling leukemia.

“I always knew Emma was in love with April, but until we moved into the House in February, I didn’t realize how much April was in love with Emma.”

During the day, April attends Grade 4 at the RMHC Toronto School, and as soon as school gets out, she asks to go to the hospital right away to see Emma.

“They just love each other so much.”

Emma is fighting cancer for the second time. The first time, the family from Guelph, Ont., about 100 km from Toronto, kept April at home while Carinta and her husband, David, traded places at Emma’s bedside. Carinta would be at the hospital from Monday to Thursday and David would come from Thursday to Sunday.

“It was exhausting. The demands on your family snowball out of control when you try to commute. And we didn’t understand at first how important it was for the sisters to see each other and for me to see my husband.”

April, David and Carinta are thriving at the House.

“April has made so many friends, and they understand her because they all have a sick sibling. Her story is normal here.”

Having access to the kitchen means Carinta can prepare Emma’s favourite foods and bring them to her at the hospital. She loves “mommy’s chicken.” And living at the House gives David the opportunity to spend quality time with April. They love exploring the big city together.

“We’re so happy to be together. We’ve learned that dinners together in Toronto are more important than keeping up with piano lessons at home.”

That togetherness will get even better this week as Emma is discharged from the hospital to continue her recovery as an outpatient at RMHC Toronto.

“She’s gonna be thrilled to be here with everyone.”