After a fire claimed their home in Westlock, the Cartwright family started building a new life in Debolt, Alberta. But life threw the family another challenge, one that quickly changed their lives in an instant.
Scott and Robyn’s son Jordan was not feeling like himself. He was in pain and feeling sick, but doctors had no idea why. After many meet and greets with different doctors in Grande Prairie, Jordan started to cough up blood. Thinking he had anemia, doctors ordered more blood work. That small test brought an answer that the family had not even imagined: Jordan had leukemia.
Jordan was medevaced to Edmonton and checked into the Stollery Children’s Hospital. The care he received at the Stollery was incredible, and they found even more support through Kids with Cancer, which assisted in covering food, hotel, parking, and even had support groups for their whole family. Even with all the support the Cartwrights received, the cost of living in a new city was adding up. But when they moved into Ronald McDonald House Charities® Northern Alberta they found out how ready the Edmonton community was to support their family.
“We walked into RMHCNA, and it was overwhelmingly beautiful. We sat down with other couples staying at the House and felt at home,” says Scott.
At RMHCNA they could be themselves. They walked through the doors and felt welcome. Staying in hotels was surreal because the kids couldn’t be themselves. They couldn’t play, run, or laugh without thinking of the other guests. But at RMHCNA, the focus is on kids. For the Cartwrights, seeing their children and other families make RMHCNA their home brought life to their stay.
“The level of love here is incredible,” says Scott. “Our son’s illness felt like a nightmare for us. But when we woke up, there were hundreds of people ready to support us.”
Programming at RMHCNA was a major asset for the Cartwrights. There were meals almost every day provided by donors and volunteers through the Meals that Mend Program. When Robyn and Jordan were at the House together they didn’t have a vehicle, but the RMHCNA Shuttle Program got them out of the hospital so that Jordan could focus on fun, and Robyn could see her son playing like he used to.
For the Cartwrights every moment is precious. For Scott, Robyn, Jordan, Isabelle, and baby Hope, every minute spent together as a family is important, whether at home in Debolt or at RMHCNA, their home away from home.
Scott is passionate about giving back to the organizations that have provided support for his family, and hosted Fight for Hope, a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House® in Edmonton and the Kids With Cancer Society, on May 27, 2017, in Westlock, AB.