Real life hero

Fam­ily unveils Caleb’s Courage Su­per­hero Suite at Re­gional Hospi­tal

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER

Nicole Forg­eron and Mike MacArthur could hardly hold back their tears on Wed­nes­day.

Af­ter close to two years rais­ing money through fundrais­ers and do­na­tions, the cou­ple of­fi­cially held the grand open­ing of Caleb’s Courage Su­per­hero Suite, a new fully ren­o­vated room in the pe­di­atrics unit at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal in Syd­ney.

The room, in me­mory of the cou­ple’s three-year-old son Caleb MacArthur, who died from cancer in 2015, fea­tures bright colours with the main ones be­ing orange and blue, those colours rep­re­sent­ing su­per­heroes. It also in­cludes a play area for chil­dren as well as a large, com­fort­able bed, tele­vi­sion and su­per­heroes on the wall.

“I know he loves this space, I feel it in my heart,” said an emo­tional Forg­eron, wip­ing tears from her eyes. “He spoke to me as I de­signed this room and ev­ery de­tail is him. I’m so proud be­cause I see him in ev­ery beau­ti­ful thing that’s in this space.”

The fam­ily started fundrais­ing in June 2015 with the hope of one day build­ing a room to hon­our Caleb and to sup­port fam­i­lies of crit­i­cally ill chil­dren in their own jour­neys through pal­lia­tive care.

Af­ter many fundrais­ing events, re­lent­less work as well as the gen­eros­ity of the Cape Bre­ton com­mu­nity and sup­port from the AVIVA Com­mu­nity Fund, the fam­ily raised more than $200,000 to make the room a re­al­ity. The event also fea­tured a fla­grais­ing cer­e­mony in me­mory of Caleb. The flag was ex­pected to fly at the hospi­tal through­out the day, be­fore be­ing pre­sented to the fam­ily later in the day.

Brad Ja­cobs, CEO of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal foun­da­tion, said when the fam­ily ap­proached the hospi­tal with the idea of hav­ing the room in Caleb’s me­mory, the hospi­tal didn’t have to think about it.

“When you have a fam­ily that has gone through a sig­nif­i­cant life ex­pe­ri­ence and has lost a child and wants to give back, it was a no-brainer for us to try to help sup­port them and fa­cil­i­tate what­ever we could,” said Ja­cobs. “The fam­ily has cre­ated this tremen­dous move­ment that has ral­lied a com­mu­nity and has brought peo­ple to­gether in a re­ally sig­nif­i­cant way and it’s some­thing that will live for­ever.”

The to­tal cost of the project was $160,000, but Ja­cobs said you can’t put a price tag on the smiles shown on the faces of Caleb’s fam­ily.

“What’s re­ally im­pres­sive about the fam­ily is their per­se­ver­ance, de­ter­mi­na­tion and will­ing­ness to put them­selves out there and tell their story about Caleb and to take what was the most ab­so­lute dif­fi­cult time in their life and turn that into some­thing pos­i­tive and beau­ti­ful that’s go­ing to help fam­i­lies in Cape Bre­ton.”

The tour of the room was led by mem­bers of the fam­ily in­clud­ing Forg­eron and MacArthur as well as their chil­dren Aubreigh, Emery, Ella and Lauch­lin.

The new room doesn’t feel or look like a reg­u­lar hospi­tal room, which was one of the goals for the fam­ily when they de­signed it.

“The main goal of this space was that it be the op­po­site of a hospi­tal room, be­cause prior to do­ing the ren­o­va­tions that’s ex­actly what it was — we of­ten called it a jail cell,” said Forg­eron. “There was no char­ac­ter in the space, it was dull and there was no colour on the wall.”

“The other goal was to re­ally make the room a fam­i­ly­cen­tred space where the whole fam­ily or any­body who wants to come visit would feel warm and wel­come,” she said.

The project was re­cently fin­ished, this com­ing af­ter months of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion from three lo­cal com­mu­nity busi­nesses, in­clud­ing Brilun Con­struc­tion, Dora Con­struc­tion and Joneljim Con­crete Con­struc­tion, who all vol­un­teered their ser­vices.

Mike MacArthur was over­whelmed by the sup­port the fam­ily has re­ceived with the project.

“It’s un­be­liev­able for us the way that (the con­struc­tion com­pa­nies) part­nered to­gether and com­pleted this project,” said MacArthur. “For them to be able to take Nicole’s idea and to de­velop it into where we are to­day, it speaks to us about the Cape Bre­ton com­mu­nity, how they’ve ral­lied around us — it’s re­ally hard to put into words.”

Forg­eron had high ex­pec­ta­tions for the room. She said she is beyond thrilled with the end re­sult.

“When I walked through the door it was ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing and more that I had en­vi­sioned in my mind,” said Forg­eron, with a smile of her face. “It’s a dif­fi­cult thing be­cause I had all of these ideas, but I didn’t have the tal­ent or the skills to do it, but work­ing with the team at City Print­ers and the graphic de­sign­ers, they took my vi­sion and brought it to life.”

Although the project is com­plete, Forg­eron said this is just the be­gin­ning of more to come.

“Our goal is to make things more com­fort­able, to en­hance ser­vices, pro­grams and fa­cil­i­ties for pe­di­atrics pal­lia­tive care,” she said. “Just like Caleb’s Courage, Caleb’s spirit will last for­ever.”

Aside from the new room, Forg­eron and MacArthur are also work­ing on a new fundrais­ing event.

The third an­nual Celeb’s Kitchen Party is set for June 4 at the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pav­il­ion in Syd­ney.

The event will take place from 2-5 p.m. with money raised go­ing to­wards fu­ture projects for Caleb’s Courage.

More in­for­ma­tion on the fundraiser will be re­leased shortly.

As for the new room, it will im­me­di­ately be avail­able for the use of pal­lia­tive on­col­ogy.

“The fam­ily has cre­ated this tremen­dous move­ment that has ral­lied a com­mu­nity and has brought peo­ple to­gether in a re­ally sig­nif­i­cant way and it’s some­thing that will live for­ever.”

Brad Ja­cobs, CEO of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal foun­da­tion,

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

The fam­ily of Caleb MacArthur sit on a bed in a newly ren­o­vated room, known as Caleb’s Courage Su­per­hero Suite, in the pe­di­atrics unit at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal in Syd­ney. The fam­ily has been fundrais­ing since 2015 to make the room a re­al­ity in me­mory of Caleb. From left, Nicole Forg­eron, Emery MacArthur, Ella MacArthur, Aubreigh MacArthur, Lauch­lin MacArthur and Mike MacArthur.

Caleb MacArthur

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Emery MacArthur, mid­dle, is shown giv­ing Bat­man a high-five prior to a flag-rais­ing cer­e­mony at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal in Syd­ney in me­mory of Caleb MacArthur. The event also fea­tured the un­veil­ing of a newly ren­o­vated room at the pe­di­atrics unit at the hospi­tal, known as Caleb’s Courage Su­per­hero Suite.

Ja­cobs

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