The value and importance of Roger's House is difficult to grasp for those who haven't relied on its service. It is not just a place for children to receive the care they need and where their families can get support through a difficult time. It is a unique gem in Ottawa through both the services it provides and the way it enriches the lives it comes to aid.
The Beaupre family began its involvement with Roger's House in December 2011. Their two-year old daughter, Lily, had been referred to Roger's House by a geneticist. She was diagnosed with Type A Niemann-Pick disease and began visiting once a week for respite care afterwards.
While Lily became a regular face for the staff over time, her mother, Eliza, joined a Roger's House support group for parents. In February of 2013, Lily's condition required her to stay at the house for end-of-life care until she passed away on March 31, 2013. After Lily's passing, Eliza joined a bereavement group offered by the facility.
Throughout Lily's time at the house, the staff created an environment for her and her family which set their minds at ease.
"They just make everything so comfortable, we never had to worry." said Eliza. "Whenever we left Lily there, we knew she was in good hands."
"They were like a second family for us and for her."
Both Eliza and her husband, Yvan, have become advocates for the house since their daughter's passing. The care and support provided to Lily and their family has inspired them to give back to Roger's House in any way they can. While they had no idea a facility like the house existed before their daughter used its services, they now want to help it flourish.
The family views the opportunity to share their story as an honour and a way to keep Lily's memory alive.
"It's really important and it's important to spread the word so other people know it's actually out there," said Eliza. "We are so grateful and thankful for how we were treated. As difficult a situation as it was, they made it as easy as it could be for us."
The 10th annual Roger's House Telethon set to take place on February 27, 2014, before the Sens take on Detroit. The funds generated go towards providing the children and families of Roger's House with the best care possible.
It's difficult to grasp how meaningful Roger's House and its staff are to the people who use its services. For Lily's family, word of mouth wasn't enough for relatives and friends to fully grasp its value until they saw it in-person. Seeing the level of care a loved one was receiving was an experience they weren't prepared for.
"They were all just blown away, they couldn't believe it," said Eliza. "One of Yvan's friends couldn't believe how well we were being treated and now he has applied to volunteer."
Yvan is also becoming a volunteer at the facility as part of his efforts to give back.
Lily made plenty of close friends with the staff and volunteers in her time at Roger's House. One staff member in particular, Megan Sloan, had an "instant connection" with Lily from her first visit. By the end of Lily's stay, Megan knew her as well as either of Lily's parents and knew all her idiosyncrasies. Having that close relationship within the house took away any stress that came with dropping her off for a stay.
The ability to put a parent's mind at ease while caring for a sick child is one of the most valuable aspects of Roger's House. A little bit of rest here or there ensures the child is receiving the best care possible in or out of the house.
"They let us give Lily the best life we could give her."
Those looking to make a contribution during the 10th annual Roger's House Telethon can do so in four ways.
Make an online contribution
Call 1-877-78-ROGER (76437)
Text SENS to 45678 for a $10 donation
Text SENATORS to 45678 for a $5 donation
By taking a few seconds out of your day, you can help a child like Lily and her parents, Yvan and Eliza, ensure that they receive the best care possible at a one-of-a-kind facility.
"They loved our daughter. You can't just find that anywhere. They gave her so much love and gave us so much support."