Making life easier

May 17, 2017
By Jennifer Caparelli
Arthur Caparelli, Jorge Venancio and Jennifer Caparelli

In August 2016, our son, Arthur, was born with a heart condition. At one and a half months old, Arthur had heart surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). His recovery took six months, five of which were in the intensive care unit. My husband, Jorge, and I lived at SickKids during that entire period. We were incredibly grateful to discover the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto Family Room, a “home away from home” within the hospital. It helped us in so many ways. Here are five.

It doesn’t feel like a hospital
Living in the hospital for six months is so difficult. We needed breaks from the beeps and the stress of the unit, so we slept in the Family Room every night because it doesn’t feel like a hospital. It feels completely different and became our second home.

Since we could rarely go home or cook, all of the donated food helped a lot. Now that we are home with our son, we’ve come back to the Family Room and donated food because we know how a simple slice of pizza made a huge difference during our time there.

Mental relief
If it wasn’t for the Family Room, everything we went through would’ve seemed so much worse. As soon as we walked in, we would forget about the problems we were facing.

The caring volunteers and staff
I will never forget everything the volunteers and staff did for my family. They work with love. They tried so hard to make us feel comfortable. On nights when all of the recliners were full, they would push two couches together so my husband and I could sleep together by the fireplace. And when my son was in surgery, everyone who knew would come talk to me, give me a hug, bring me coffee. Even some of my family members wouldn’t do that for me, and these people do it without even knowing me. They are amazing.

Meeting other families
We shared our experience with many other parents in the Family Room. We were all there together, going through the same problems, but surrounded by love.

Life is hard sometimes, and the RMHC Toronto Family Room made life easier for us during a stressful time. Thank you for all of the support.

Jennifer and Jorge sipping coffee in the Family Room with Arthur

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