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Sometimes, we just need our mom.

Josee Ducharme knows how impactful a mother’s support is in times of great need. Not only did Ronald McDonald House Charities Ottawa (RMHCO) make it possible for her to be there for her daughter, Chanelle, during her health challenges, RMHCO made it possible for Josee’s mother to be there for her, too.

When Chanelle was born unexpectedly at 24 weeks in Sturgeon Falls, Josee immediately found herself and her brand-new daughter in an air ambulance on their way to Ottawa.

With her son Jason at home with his Grandma, the pair were headed 400kms away, where they would stay for 6 months.

For the first few weeks of Chanelle’s life, Josee stayed constantly at her daughter’s side. She spent few hours each night at a hotel for a shower and some sleep before returning to the hospital to make sure her baby was safe and supported.

“As long as I’m next to her, I know she’s safe.”

RMHCO allowed Josee to remain close to her daughter even when she was not at her bedside. When a room became available at the House, the breaks away from the hospital were still short, but they came with a built-in support system. A chat with other NICU moms before heading to CHEO provided more energy and inspiration than a cup of coffee ever could.

Family visits carried Josee through her six months stay in Ottawa, with Ronald McDonald House making it possible for her son and her mother to visit their new sister and granddaughter.

“When my mom was able to visit, I realized I had no idea how much I missed her, or needed her, or wanted her until that very moment.”

Chanelle is now a vibrant two-and-a-half-year-old. The Ducharme family will continue to make the trip to CHEO several times a year for maintenance surgeries, check-ups and appointments, each time knowing that RMHCO is there for them during their stay in Ottawa.

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