In the fall of 2016, Adam and Lindsay Relvas noticed that their son Anthony was not his usual energetic self. Their doctor ordered tests – and suddenly they found themselves in an air ambulance, heading to Vancouver. Since then, Anthony and his family have been staying at Ronald McDonald House as he receives life-saving treatment for neuroblastoma.
Over the past year, they have spent about 70% of their time and Ronald McDonald House and 30% at home – and they expect to continue with intensive treatment until March or April. Anthony is currently undergoing immunotherapy.
While being away from home is a struggle for this family of four, RMH BC is full of things that help. For Anthony’s 6-year-old sister Brooklyn, doing arts and crafts is a fun and creative escape. As for Anthony – he can never get enough of the slides! While Anthony is often immune suppressed, his parents are grateful for the times when they can just let him be a kid.
For Adam and Lindsay, Family Meals help to reduce stress, and ticket donations to sporting events and concerts help them to create precious memories. But most important for them are the friends they have made at the House, friends who help them feel less isolated in Vancouver and who look out for each other in difficult times.
“It’s nice to have families who are going through similar things that you can connect with, and who really understand what you’re going through,” says Adam. Lindsay agrees, and believes that the opportunity to help other parents has been therapeutic: “Being able to support someone else in their walk, makes your walk easier.”
Their advice for other families who come to Ronald McDonald House for the long term? “Learn to take it one day at a time. And when you’re ready, try to connect and find people. It definitely makes things easier!”
You can help keep a family like Anthony’s close and give them a community of support.