Brody’s home away from home

Shearstown fam­ily over­comes odds, raises money for Ron­ald McDon­ald House

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

Brody Holmes of Shearstown never imag­ined he would be spend­ing his sev­enth birth­day at the Janeway Chil­drens Hos­pi­tal and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre in St. John’s.

It was two weeks be­fore the big day, on April 21, when the un­think­able hap­pened.

Brody was in a tragic car accident that took the life of his grand­fa­ther and left him and his mother Amanda with se­ri­ous in­juries.

It was months be­fore Brody stopped us­ing the wheel­chair and be­gan us­ing a walker. But he was driven and de­ter­mined. Be­fore long, he was back on his two feet again, play­ing and walk­ing around.

Amanda’s in­juries were also se­vere, leav­ing her with lim­ited mo­bil­ity in her wrist.

Both have been liv­ing in Sun­ny­side with Amanda’s mother while re­cov­er­ing. But for months, home was the Ron­ald McDon­ald House (RMH) in St. John’s, across the street from the Janeway.

“RMH be­came a huge part of our life once we both spent over 50 nights there our­selves,” Amanda told The Com­pass last week.

Help­ing out

Brody, who has a rep­u­ta­tion in his com­mu­nity for be­ing com­pas­sion­ate, has al­ways been in­volved with fundrais­ing for dif­fer­ent causes. His big­gest one be­fore the accident was as an Earth Ranger saving the polar bears.

Af­ter the fam­ily’s stay at RMH, Brody wanted to give back to them.

“It wasn’t un­til he was in hos­pi­tal that he asked, ‘Mom, I really want to do some­thing to help Ron­ald McDon­ald House,’” Amanda re­called. “Al­though he was think­ing along lines of bingo, since him and nanny loves a game of bingo.”

The fam­ily shifted into gear and started sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets on a quilt, just in time for Christ­mas. There were 1,500 tick­ets printed.

Ornaments and Christ­mas Cards were the next on the list. At the Sun­ny­side and Come by Chance Li­ons Clubs craft fairs, Brody sold th­ese items and tick­ets on the quilt.

“Once there we had peo­ple who were so glad to have vis­ited our ta­ble, and Li­ons Club mem­bers ask­ing about Ron­ald McDon­ald House and what they may do for a fundraiser to help sup­port it,” Amanda ex­plained.

To Brody, ev­ery dol­lar counts.

Big com­mu­nity sup­port

Al­though Amanda and Brody are from Bay Roberts, peo­ple in Sun­ny­side and Come by Chance have been huge supporters to the cause.

A Face­book group called “Brody’s home away from home – Ron­ald McDon­ald House fundrais­ers” was cre­ated. Amanda’s co­work­ers, fam­ily friends and fam­ily mem­bers were all added to the group.

Pho­tos from the Holmes’ stay at RMH were also up­loaded for peo­ple to see what hap­pens there.

“The best part of stay­ing there is the wel­come feel­ing you get from staff, vol­un­teers and other fam­i­lies stay­ing there,” Amanda said. “Each per­son has a story and sit­u­a­tion, but it brings ev­ery­one to­gether when you’re in a sit­u­a­tion of stress, wor­ried and in need of prayers or just a lis­ten­ing ear.”

RMH pro­vides home cooked meals, bak­ing, toi­letries and other ameni­ties. This al­lows fam­i­lies of chil­dren stay­ing at the Janeway or hav­ing treat­ment there to be close by.

“They have so many ac­tiv­i­ties for kids and ev­ery­thing you can think of, it’s there,” Amanda con­tin­ued. “It’s nice to pop some pop­corn and make a straw­berry milk­shake and watch a movie in the movie room.”

And the costs typ­i­cally as­soci- ated with stay­ing in St. John’s on your own dime are not a worry. It costs $15 a night per fam­ily.

“This site has been a home away from home and it’s made af­ford­able for those who have to travel from one side of the prov­ince to the other.”

The St. John’s RMH has 15 fam­ily suites and serves more than 500 fam­i­lies per year. Visi­tors must live a min­i­mum of 80 kilo­me­tres out­side St. John’s. Brody and Amanda made that cut off.

In­cred­i­bly thank­ful

Amanda and Brody have noth­ing but the up­most re­spect for those that work and vol­un­teer at the RMH, but also at the Janeway. And Brody’s abil­ity to take part in events at school keeps his spir­its up.

“I’m thank­ful Brody re­ceived hy­dro-phys­io­ther­apy and still is go­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” Amanda said. “And we’re thank- ful for the process and the rou­tine of daily school ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Al­though Brody is in school and par­tic­i­pat­ing in reg­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, he has not lost his drive to help. And by rais­ing money, he hopes to show how thank­ful he is for ev­ery­thing RMH did for him and his mom. They are also think­ing about the friends they made, in­clud­ing one fam­ily there with their baby for three months.

“Thank you to ev­ery­one that has been sup­port­ing on Brody’s goal to sell his tick­ets and sup­port­ing a very im­por­tant house to ev­ery­one en­ters it. You have no idea how im­por­tant it is un­til you have to be there your­self.”

To sup­port Brody in his fundraiser, con­tact Amanda through the Face­book group or at 683-2353.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Brody Holmes is seen here us­ing his walker to get around. Brody was in­jured in a car accident that claimed the life of his grand­fa­ther.

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