Meet the McNeil Family

I truly can’t put into words how fortunate my family and I have been to be blessed with the Ronald McDonald House.

My son Grayson has spent the vast majority of his life going back and forth to hospitals, with regular trips to the IWK Health Centre since he was 6 weeks old. When it began, he would spike a fever, refuse to eat, start to vomit and develop a red rash that resembled a burn. I took him to the nearest emergency room, thinking it was a reaction to something he had eaten. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a long journey for our family.

After repeated infections and bouts of illness that lead to multiple admittances to the hospitals, IV’s and antibiotics, it was evident that something more was happening, and we learned that Grayson had deficiencies affecting his immune system. Depending on the type of infection, the symptoms vary in frequency and severity. Thanks to the IWK and the treatment plan they’ve developed, he’s living a happy, fun-filled life playing with the people he loves—his family and friends! Grayson is a happy, energetic, determined and loving four year old. He loves Paw Patrol, construction vehicles, dinosaurs, and time with his family.

Throughout, the Ronald McDonald House has been our “home away from home.” It’s a blessing to be able to keep your family together during a time when we needed it the most. Whenever we’d arrive at the House, we would be greeted with very friendly staff, a comfortable room, and plenty of accommodating amenities. The house is so warm and welcoming, and the staff genuinely care about each and every child in the house. They always make conversation a priority, and never seize to amaze you with the involvement they have with the children.

Games, activities, painting or helping the staff bake are just a few of Grayson’s favourites. Reuniting with friends and seeing the excitement on the children’s faces will always be one of my most memorable moments. Having a child receiving any kind of medical treatment creates a lot of fear, stress and worry. The Ronald McDonald House allowed me to focus my energy on Grayson’s well-being and nurture him back to health. For that I’m truly grateful!

– Natasha McNeil
Glace Bay, NS