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Judah’s story: Pediatric cancer care close to home

Judah’s story: Pediatric cancer care close to home GRHF story Judah’s story: Pediatric cancer care close to home GRHF story

Rushing to the hospital with a sick child is every parent’s worst nightmare. For Moorefield residents, Christian and Lauren Jean-Pierre, this became a reality when their one and a half year old son Judah suddenly developed a fever, chills and a rash.

Their nightmare got worse when doctors told them, “Your son has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.”

The family was faced with big changes. Lauren stopped working so she could take Judah back and forth to Toronto for appointments. Once a treatment plan was developed Judah started to receive chemotherapy at GRH’s Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) satellite clinic.

Judah and Lauren enjoying the Snoezelen, generously funded by community donations

Judah enjoys finding the fish and watching the lights and bubbles of the Snoezelen with his mother Lauren. The Snoezelen was generously funded by community donations.

Being able to stay close to home meant so much to Lauren, Christian and Judah.

The first time Lauren brought her son to GRH she never expected she would feel comfortable and involved in her son’s experience. Lauren was amazed that there was a child life specialist, Mary Thibault, who helps normalize the experience for her son and help her cope with the situation. Mary helps by listening to parents concerns and explaining procedures to children.

Behind the care of a patient is a whole team of professionals at GRH that collaborate to make sure every need is met for every patient and their family. In addition to the child life specialists, the care team includes pediatricians, nurses, dieticians, respiratory therapists, lab technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists and social workers.

“I worry less coming to Judah’s appointments because I know the staff care. They listen to all of my questions and fears, no matter how irrational, I can call anytime and they are gentle with Judah,” says Lauren. “It’s not just a job to them; they are here because they want to help.”

A positive experience with compassionate staff is what young patients and families can expect when they visit GRH. Parents are grateful that services for children and highly talented care providers are available in their community. It means that children, like Judah, can get the care they need close to home.