IT’S PAST 5 P.M. ON SATURDAY and the ambulance that has been parked in front of the Superstore for the entire day collecting food and toy donations has yet to leave. A few more people trickle out and add to the pile.
I am one of them. I thank the paramedics for the vital role they have in our community, and once again, for being there when our family needed them. I don’t get to see how much they’ve collected because once I throw a peek inside, I am reminded of the time when my youngest, seven at the time, was being taken to the hospital.
His little body was struggling to breathe due to a particularly severe asthma attack and I was sitting next to him, holding his hand and hiding tears behind a smile because that’s what you do for your child even when you are broken inside.
That’s a story that Frank and Bonnie Lepine Antoine know too well. Their son Riel just turned two this month and has been in hospitals since he was seven months old when he was diagnosed with High Grade Infant Glioma brain cancer. It’s the rarest form of cancer, his parents were told. In fact, he might be the only child in the world fighting this.