MEET Andrea and Sianna
MEET Andrea and Sianna
For a year and a half, Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon has been home for 19-year-old Sianna Clement and her grandma Andrea. Find out how RMH BC became their community of support throughout their long journey and during COVID-19.
For Grandma Andrea Beaulieu, the impact of Ronald McDonald House really hits home. When she was a child, she saw her parents experience incredible financial and emotional strains when her brother was seriously ill and needed care away from home.
When her granddaughter Sianna was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she was relieved to find that there was now a place they could stay just minutes from the hospital: RMH BC.
Sianna was first diagnosed in December 2018, and her cancer proved to be resistant to treatment. Sianna and Andrea braced themselves for a much longer stay in Vancouver than they had expected, and a long journey involving chemo, targeted therapies, a stem cell transplant, and radiation.
During this stressful time, the House was a welcoming refuge where they could relax in beautiful surroundings and with the support of friendly staff. “They cared for us from the beginning,” remembers Andrea. While they were disconnected from their home community, Andrea truly appreciated that there was always someone they could go to with questions, and that the hospital was only steps away.
Families often say that the kitchens are the heart of Ronald McDonald House, and Andrea and Sianna are no exception. Beyond the convenience of being able to cook at any time of the day or night, they have many fond memories of the families they met in the kitchen, from the dad who would make pizza for everyone, to the new friends who would meet to share stories, to the little kids enjoying normal everyday activities with their families even when they were sick.
In March 2020, COVID-19 added more stress to families already dealing with so much, and brought new rules for distancing – but Andrea took comfort in seeing the little kids who, with plenty of space at RMH BC, were able to still play outside.
Even with volunteer programs cancelled, thanks to generous donors RMH BC was able to bring in groceries and meals for families – something that was a lifesaver for Andrea and Sianna. “Food becomes really important when you’re isolated,” says Andrea, and having access to a variety of healthy meals helped to reduce stress when everything was uncertain.
Looking back on their eventful year and a half, Andrea believes that her granddaughter’s treatment outcomes and quality of life will be much better thanks to their time at RMH BC and the community they found there. “We have seen so many families, so many losses and hopes, and so many beautiful people sharing stories and learning together,” she remembers.
In May, they were finally able to return home, and they wanted to share their gratitude for their time at RMH BC. “You can donate $100 in many places but I know $100 goes a long way here,” says Andrea.