We first introduced you to Isaac Mastroianni and his family in September 2018. After being evacuated to Vancouver on “the worst April Fools Day ever,” Isaac was facing months of chemo, surgery and radiation. During the six months he spent away from home, RMH BC helped his whole family to stay together and be part of a community.
When he thinks back to the end of his treatment in 2018, 16-year-old Isaac Mastroianni remembers finally being able to take a deep breath. After spending 6 months trying to keep up with two worlds – his life in Prince Rupert and the world of the hospital – he and his family could finally settle back into their lives at home.
But after such an intense and stressful experience, things are never quite the same. “I wouldn’t say life is back to normal,” says Isaac’s dad Mark. “It’s the new normal.” Isaac agrees: “It’ll never be what it was before.”
The Mastroiannis now return to Vancouver every three months for checkups, and in between visits to Vancouver, they live this new normal.
Isaac is now in Grade 11 and more than anything, he is grateful to be reunited with his friends and back into sports. A competitive swimmer, Isaac has been training hard and is proud to say he is now beating his old times from before his diagnosis.
Isaac’s sister Jillian is now in Grade 8, and while she and her family were staying at RMH BC, she discovered a passion for giving back. In 2018, she organized a lemonade stand and donated the proceeds to RMH BC, and her fundraising efforts are still going strong. This past winter, she created her own hand-drawn colouring books and sold them, with all proceeds supporting RMH BC.
The Mastroianni family is enjoying new adventures together: they spend lots of time on the ski hill and recently took their Wish Trip to the Amalfi coast. They are also grateful that they are now in a position to offer support and comfort to other families.
Looking back to their long stay, they remember the House as a safe place, and for them it meant community. “You are around people who understand your reality,” reflect Gina and Mark. “You don’t tend to get that at home in a smaller town. We had some tough times here but also some really fun times.” They will always remember slurpee runs with the friends they made at RMH BC – friends they still keep in touch with and check in on.