Give today and keep a family like the Veltris close when it matters most.
4-year-old Nicola Veltri and her family from Sooke, BC are spending their second Christmas at Ronald McDonald House. In November 2016, life changed for the Veltris when Nicola was diagnosed with leukemia at 14 months. Now, Nicola is fighting cancer a second time and receiving a bone marrow transplant thanks to her hero and big brother, Logan.
“One of the first phone calls we made when we found out she relapsed was to RMH,” says mom Kristina. “We knew from experience that this was the place we needed to be.”
In April 2019, the Veltri family had celebrated the end of Nicola’s leukemia treatment, but in August, they found out that her cancer had returned. Nicola and Kristina immediately checked in to RMH BC and since then, they have not been home even once. They expect to go home in March 2020, three whole seasons after they checked in.
For Nicola, the House is a break from the hospital where she can play and feel comfortable after facing scary things. “When we first arrived, Nicola just wanted to hide in the room,” remembers Kristina. “Now she is talking and playing with other kids, joining in – it’s been huge for her.”
For Kristina and dad Mike, support from other families makes them feel at home. During this stay, they have been able to reconnect with some of the families they met in 2016 and meet new friends who are on similar journeys.
Most importantly, staying at RMH BC means that the whole family can be connected even as they juggle responsibilities at home and Nicola’s treatment in Vancouver. When Nicola relapsed, Mike had just started a new job and was unable to take a long leave. Big siblings Ella (12) and Logan (9) needed to stay in school. But every weekend, they walk on to the ferry and come to support their little sister and their mom in Vancouver.
While they are at the House together, RMH BC helps to take care of the entire family so they can focus on what’s most important. For Kristina and Mike, family meals help to take the pressure off so they can simply sit down to a home-cooked meal with their kids. The Veltri siblings can play together, usually in the art room. They can celebrate important milestones together: they recently celebrated Nicola’s 4th birthday at the House, and were able to take Ella to the Jonas Brothers concert for her 12th birthday thanks to a generous ticket donation.
Although they are spending another Christmas away from home, they know that they will be able to celebrate together at RMH BC. Thinking back to their stay in 2016, they remember how it meant so much for them to be all together for Christmas, with a community of support around them. “We didn’t have outside pressures and we could concentrate on us, on being a family,” says Kristina. “Logan still says to this day that it was his favourite Christmas.”
Give today and keep a family close when it matters most.