Jack Colbert swinging in a playground two months ago.

New Ronald McDonald House open for all BC families in need

The Colbert family from Nelson, share their appreciation for the facility.

Each year, BC Children’s Hospital provides expert care for more than 78,000 children – with 67 per cent of its patients coming from areas outside the City of Vancouver. Four per cent of families who stay at RMH BC are from the Kootenays.  The new Ronald McDonald House® BC & Yukon (RMH BC) opened on Monday, June 16 on the campus of BC Children’s Hospital to better serve families in need.

RMH BC  provides a home environment for families with sick children, right on hospital grounds, so parents can focus on what matters most: healing their sick child.

Jillian and Aaron Colbert, local residents of Nelson, learned how to cope at RMH BC through family-centered care after their new-born son Jack was diagnosed with an AVSD heart defect and an imperforate anus. The family, unaware that Jack had any health conditions, was not prepared to travel to Vancouver from Nelson when Jack was born.

Jillian said she and Aaron  had no idea their baby was going to be born with Down Syndrome and a heart condition.

“Two hours after giving birth to Jack, we were flown to Vancouver,” she said.

Jillian didn’t even have clothes when she arrived at the RM House which was the first of many places the family stayed.

“It was so welcoming, like being at home,” said Jillian.  Returning to the BC Children’s Hospital for Jack’s ongoing monthly medical treatments, the Colbert family got to know other families staying there too. “It really helped being able to relate with other families who have a child with health issues.”  She said many cases were worse than her son’s and the reality of what others were going through was grounding. With three children and monthly travel expenses mounting, Jillian said that an initial donation of clothes and regularity of people who came to the house to make food meant so much. “We were barely making it with the travel expenses,” she said.

During holidays such as Easter and Christmas, the staff were very thoughtful and really made it feel like home, especially for their daughter. Fortunately, the family was able to stay together at RMH BC where they close relationships with many of the other families staying at the house.

In the first year, the family of five needed to stay in Vancouver every month as Jack recovered from four surgeries, one being open heart. Now 14-months old, Jack visits the hospital every three months. The new RM house is a one minute walk  from the BC Children’s Hospital whereas the old house is a 20 to 30 minute walk away.

Jillian pointed out that the second house will be wonderful as there is so much demand for the accommodation.

In addition to the 13 room house that has assisted  400 families each year, the brand new 73 room  house located on the grounds of the BC Children’s Hospital will now help serve more than 2500 BC families in need.


Just Posted

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

LETTER: Causing any species to go extinct is a crime

‘The earth is not dying. It is being killed’

COLUMN: A look back at May, 1968

Greg Scott: Touchstones of Nelson

Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback to play Nelson

The duo will be at the Civic Theatre on May 31

Grease comes to the Capitol Theatre

The production runs Thursday to Sunday

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Summit talk turns warmer; Trump says ‘talking to them now’

North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks

Harvey Weinstein turns himself in, arraigned on rape, criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges following allegations of sexual misconduct

Explosion at Mississauga restaurant sends 15 to hospital

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Most Read