When four-year-old Carson Labossiere was diagnosed with leukemia, the family received the news at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg. Their home is two-and-a-half hours away, south of Darlingford. Having come to the city straight from Boundary Trails Health Centre in Winkler, they arrived in Winnipeg with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.
At the end of August 2020, Carson was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an extremely aggressive form of the disease. The severity of the situation forced the family to remain in Winnipeg. Fortunately, hospital staff knew where they could find help. Dena Labossiere, Carson’s mother has nothing but praise for the care they received.
“Amazing staff at Children’s Hospital! They have a counsellor that comes around, and she said, ‘Have you looked into Ronald McDonald House?’ I said we hadn't, but I've heard of it. So she hooked us up.”
Ronald McDonald House is located only two blocks away from Health Sciences Centre.
“We were able to walk back and forth most of the time,” explains Dena. “They also have a security van that can take you back and forth, so it was safe. An amazing, amazing place!”
To this point, Dena and Carson have spent more than 100 nights at Ronald McDonald House. Dena says that this has allowed her to focus her attention on Carson.
“I was taking care of a four-year-old, so they basically took care of me, right? With home-cooked meals, they would make Carson feel at home, they would give him little things here and there from donations they get. He loves it there! Everyone is so friendly. They're just amazing, an amazing place!”
Ronald McDonald House Charities Manitoba has officially broken ground on its new House in Winnipeg, just down the block from the Bannatyne location. The new home will offer 40 rooms -- nearly triple the accommodations of the 14 at the existing home -- as well as improved kitchen facilities, private bathrooms plus added parking.
It’s rural Manitobans like Dena and her family rely on Ronald McDonald House the most, according to the charity.
Written by Chris Sumner and Terry Klippenstein.