Marah and her family at Children's Hospital

You Help Create Joyful Moments for Sick Kids

Throughout her cancer treatment, your support helped bring moments of joy and comfort to Marah and her family.

The poster outside my daughter’s hospital room read “The Twelve Days of Oncology”.

The list contained things like: “On the second day — New Meds!”  “On the Fourth Day — Blood Tests.”  “On the Sixth Day — Chemo!” It was wrapped in a red Christmas-y garland. 

Every time I think about that poster, three thoughts come to mind: 

How lucky I am that my daughter is alive to spend the holidays with us this year; and every year of our future. 

How courageous, strong and resilient the children in that hospital are, day in and day out, as they face bigger challenges than most of us adults ever have. 

 How deeply grateful I am for Children’s Hospital. For the loving and tireless dedication of the medical and staff teams there.  


“That’s How Fast a Life Can Change.”

My beautiful daughter, Marah, was 13 years old when she began getting intense stomach pains and nausea. 

When it wasn’t going away, we took her into the hospital in Wingham. They took a blood test and found Leukemia cells. 

At 2:30 a.m. in the middle of the night, Marah was rushed by ambulance to Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. 

That’s how fast a life can change.  

Marah was officially diagnosed with Leukemia the next day. I remember it — it was August 25, 2020. 

 She didn’t see home again until February 6, 2021 — five and a half months later. 

 It felt like my whole world had collapsed. Added to that, we were in the midst of COVID-19 and trying to keep our other two children safe and cared for. 


“A happy patient does way better than someone who is down.”

A very compassionate nurse told us right from the beginning … “A happy patient does way better than someone who is down.” So, we devoted ourselves to keeping Marah as happy, hopeful and positive as we could. 

We survived on laughter. Jokes. Goofing around. Having fun. We decorated Marah’s room five different times! 

And the staff at the hospital walked beside us every step of the way. 

Because of the pandemic, Marah couldn’t have any visitors except us. But the nurses really stepped in to take on that family role — they were always, always there for her. Marah never felt alone.

As well as the nurses, there were so many special people who got Marah through her health care journey. 

Ollie the Therapeutic Clown would come by once or twice a week. He and Marah would play pranks on the nurses. They made this game together with a spring and a toy chick – that popped out whenever they set the chick down. They got great delight in scaring the nurses each time! 

Karina, the Music Therapist, will always have a special place in our hearts. She would come 2 or 3 times a week and teach Marah to play guitar. Now Marah has her own guitar, and she’s even recorded some songs to put onto a CD, so she can keep it as a memory of the music they made together. 

Melissa, the wonderful Child Life Specialist, would play board games with her. There was always lots of laughter as they made up their own rules. Marah even taught Melissa to crochet. 


I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in our community.

All of these wonderful people played a huge role in keeping Marah positive — and so have people like you!   

Generous gifts from caring people like you helped fund every one of these programs that I believe kept Marah strong, and helped get her well too.  

Until we spent time at the hospital, I really didn’t know how vital these “extra” services and staff could be. 

You know, it will sound strange, but when we look back at our time at Children’s Hospital, if we wrote a list of the good and the bad, there were way more good, fun and happy times, than bad. 

Bad days during treatment are really bad. But staff provided pleasant times in order to keep her positive. 

And for that — I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in our community. 

I really struggle to think of how I can possibly show my gratitude to the people who saved my child’s life. There are just no words.  

Anything I can do — ever — to make their lives easier or better, or help them as they work so hard to care for our children … I will do. 

Which is why I volunteered to tell our story. I’ll spend my lifetime trying to repay what they have given back to us.

I hope you will consider joining your friends and neighbours by supporting Children’s Health Foundation this holiday season.

Thank you for any gift you can send to care for children like our daughter Marah. Please know that you will remain in our family’s thoughts, with gratitude. 

-Lee Anne Gibbons 

P.S. Please consider a donation to Children’s Health Foundation to help give more comfort to families like ours this Christmas. 

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