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Almost a year ago, Nico Shintah was born on the day his parents Jackie and Stacey had prepared for – but after that, things stopped going according to plan. Nico couldn’t breathe on his own and needed to be intubated and airlifted immediately to Vancouver. In the coming months, Nico, born with a smaller lung, would need ongoing oxygen support and assistance with breathing as he grew and developed.

After a couple of months in Vancouver, the family was allowed to go home – but when Nico came down with a virus, they were airlifted right back. Now, Jackie, Stacey and Nico have been in Vancouver since January 2019.

Both Stacey and Jackie agree that the hardest part of being away from home is being separated from family. The couple has two other children – a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son – and they miss the support of their extended family. Staying at RMH BC has allowed their older kids to visit, and when they are feeling overwhelmed they can call in grandmothers and great-aunts to help out.

After travelling from their quiet small town to the centre of Vancouver, they are also thankful to have found a place to stay close to the hospital, where they can focus on being with Nico rather than travelling across the city. “It’s easier on the mind,” says Jackie. “If something happens we can be right there rather than blocks away.”

For the Shintahs, the House is a place where they can feel at home, escape from the chaotic world of the hospital, and enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by volunteers at the end of a long day. It’s a place to unwind and enjoy the little things, such as playing bingo with other families or having the chance to get family portraits taken.

When they are able to bring Nico to the House, they immediately notice a change in him due to the homelike environment. “It’s good to have him here,” says Jackie, “He’s not stuck in the hospital, he can see other things, and not be so isolated.” “He loves music therapy,” adds Stacey with a grin. “It just makes him smile.” And after everything they have been through, that is something they are always thrilled to see.

The Shintahs recently got word that Nico will be discharged from the hospital and they can return to Lillooet for the first time in 5 months – just in time to celebrate Nico’s first birthday at home.

Thanks to you, kids like Nico and their families can stay together. Donate today and keep a family like the Shintahs close.