Guest Story

The Spruyt family stayed at RMHC Manitoba's Ronald McDonald Family Room while their son received life-saving medical treatment. Pictured (from left) are Jennifer, Henry (age 2), Luke (age 4), TJ and Jack (age 6).

“In April, our youngest son, Henry, was diagnosed with bronchiolitis. Being a preemie and only six-weeks-old at the time, it quickly became a very serious infection. The day after he was diagnosed, my wife woke early in the morning to find our son unresponsive and turning blue. 

Immediately upon our arrival at HSC Children’s Hospital Emergency, the medical staff recognized how serious the situation was and attended to him, starting chest compressions and reviving him. The infection was so severe, his body started to shut down and he was unable to breathe on his own. He was placed on a ventilator and admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) where he stayed for the next week. The staff kept telling us that we found him at the right time. Had my wife not woken up and checked on Henry, he likely would not have made it through the night. We were lucky everything turned out fine, but it was a difficult time and hopefully something we never have to experience again. Thankfully, he’s doing very well right now.

When Henry was admitted to the PICU, we were also fortunate enough to learn about Ronald McDonald House Charities Manitoba (RMHC Manitoba). It truly is a wonderful organization providing a haven for families while their sick children are staying in hospital. The staff and volunteers go above and beyond to provide a welcoming and comforting environment.

Through the whole process, we learned more about RMHC Manitoba. We were fortunate to stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room for about a week and we can’t say enough good things about it. It definitely brings peace of mind knowing you’re so close to your sick child. With complimentary meals and all the comforts of home, the hospitality was phenomenal. For me, the best part about being a family supported by RMHC Manitoba is the comfort of knowing you have a place to stay. There’s food when you need it. It’s a huge relief to be able to have a space to be together with your whole family and still be there for your child that’s sick. It’s nice to be so close and have the support of volunteers, staff and everyone here.

Every year, we create a Winnipeg Police Service Canine Unit Calendar with proceeds going to a different charity. Last year, RMHC Manitoba was the charity of choice. A couple of my colleagues heard our story and jumped on board to support the idea 110%. As a police officer, it’s a special thing when you have the opportunity to give back to the community. Not everyone has the opportunity to give back like that.

Once the story behind the calendars came out there were a bunch of police officers who reached out from across the country and asked, “How can I help out? My family also stayed at a Ronald McDonald House Charities program.” I think every time you’re dealing with sick kids, it’s a special place in peoples’ hearts.

We’re very appreciative of RMHC Manitoba and everyone who helped us throughout the whole process. We’re glad things worked out the way they did and couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”

-TJ & Jennifer Spruyt