Cassidy and Cailey Patterson, from Seeley’s Cove, New Brunswick, have been coming to Ronald McDonald House for as long as they can remember.
In fact, it is where they spent the first five months of their lives.
Daisy and Scott’s twin girls were born two months early on April 20, 2001. After doctors discovered that Cassidy’s kidney had very little function, the Patterson’s began staying at Ronald McDonald House to be close to the IWK.
“The House felt so welcoming. I remember that we were so tired with two premature babies,” says Daisy. “It was a place to sleep and relax and get some rest. It was a wonderful reprieve from the hospital.”
Cassidy functioned with one kidney until she was two and when that kidney failed she went on dialysis for a year. At the age of three she had a kidney transplant. During this time, there were numerous trips back and forth to Halifax and extended stays at the House.
In the first three years of the twins’ lives they actually spent more time at Ronald McDonald House than they did at their own home.
“I lived in Halifax with the kids while Scott worked in New Brunswick and travelled back and forth,” explains Daisy. “We were keeping two lives going and had to keep up with bills at home. Ronald McDonald House gave us a place to stay that was cozy and cost efficient.”
Daisy recalled one of the toughest times in her life when Cailey became sick with a lung infection and had to go home to New Brunswick with her dad for two weeks while Daisy stayed at Ronald McDonald House to be close to Cassidy.
“I was very worried about Cassidy in the hospital and Cailey at home,” says Daisy. “The most difficult thing was not being able to be together as a family.”
Cassidy and Cailey enjoy coming to the House and say their favourite activities are playing Trouble and baking and decorating cookies. Their little sister Renee can often be found playing with the other kids.
The Pattersons have spent many nights at Ronald McDonald House over the past 15 years and will continue to stay in the future when Cassidy has appointments at the IWK.
“This lifestyle changes your perception of everything and makes you stronger,” says Daisy. “Ronald McDonald House may not be your home but you can make it your second home.”