On December 4th, 2010, after three years of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, our vibrant seven- year-old son Keaton died from stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Learning that our son was seriously ill threw our world upside down. Gone was a normal life. We were thrust into a world of hospital visits, chemo/radiation, taking time off work, missing school, trying to learn and navigate the many gaps in supports and services, all the while trying to also raise our daughter.
The staff team at McMaster Children’s Hospital were amazing and yet the reality is that a hospital is often loud and busy, the cafeteria food is not comforting, and it is costly. In addition, you have a life outside of the hospital like work, school, family events and simple chores.
Keaton died in our arms in a hospital bed. How I wished it could have been in a pediatric hospice where we would have been surrounded by our family, including our three-year-old daughter. When I look at the family room, respite support and bereavement programs in pediatric hospices it brings a tear to my eye because I know it would have made a difference.
Picking up your life after the death of your child is hard and I miss Keaton every day. Today, I know a family is learning for the first time that their child’s illness will shorten their life. Parents who have walked this path want something in our region to better support the next family. Please join me and my family in making the Children’s Hospice a reality.