On May 31, 2013 I was fortunate enough to spend my PD day at Roger’s House, an 8 bed facility for children with life limiting illnesses. Lise Beauchemin, the Coordinator of Volunteer Services, was kind enough to give me and my mom a tour of the facility and to meet a few of the children. The facility is built beautifully and 100% wheelchair accessible. My favourite room there was the play room. This is because of all of the windows and bright coloured walls; they give a good and happy vibe. Also, I love the idea of the memory wall. It is for the children who have spent time there and have passed away. The families take a star and write something about their child on it and it goes on the wall.
The three children I met were Quinlan, Lucy and Christopher. All kids that stay at Roger’s House can only stay for 42 days each year. Little Quinlan looked about 2 and couldn’t speak but quite the little flirt! I peaked around the corner to smile and wave at him. He seemed to be interested in who I was and my sparkly tiara. I said hi and smiled and waved some more and he started to wave his arms and kick his feet and had a huge smile. I think he likes me! LOL He showed my his “silly face” then we said bye. Then I met Lucy who is a 10 year old girl. She acted like a typical 10 year old but she is on oxygen. We had a great chat. She asked for an autographed picture for both herself and her younger sister. Our chat was brief because she was supposed to be resting. Christopher looked about 7 years old couldn’t speak or move. When I saw him he was enjoying quiet time and listening to Michael Jackson while sleeping on a massage mat. The room was dark but had some LED lights and quiet music. They use this room or both stimulation and relaxation, depending what the child needs. I wish I had a room like this!
The 40 staff and 300 volunteers help keep these kids healthy and happy while visiting Roger’s House. This house was a dream of Roger Neilson. Neilson was an NHL hockey player and coach until he was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. He wanted to build a home away from home for children who are terminally ill. The Ottawa Senators are a big part of Roger’s House. Mike Fisher used to be the chairman until he moved to Nashville. Now Chris Neil, of the Ottawa Senators, is the chairman. Roger’s House is located down the road from CHEO but is not associated with them. They donated the land. Roger’s House is an amazing place for youth and their families! I feel so privileged to have had a personal tour and proud that we have a facility like this in our community! Please check out their link: http://www.rogershouse.ca/en/