Community rallies to help sick newborn

2-year-old Olivia Beland, 4-year-old Liam Beland, and 3-year-old Noémie Daoust proudly display the amount they raised with their lemonade stand in Verner. The kids raised $525 for baby Noah.

Community members and businesses are rallying together to help a young family in a time of need. Audrey Menard of West Nipissing has been fundraising for her grandson Noah who, at only 6 weeks of age, is currently undergoing treatment for Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD). “I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Menard about fundraising, “but I have quite a few contacts in the community, and close family friends, and my hairdresser!”

Back in June, her daughter Heidi Menard was taken by air to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, after doctors noticed some issues during a routine ultrasound. Once she gave birth, newborn Noah was transferred to Sick Kids Hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with ARPKD.

The young family, who currently live in Timmins, have been staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Toronto since June. However, they will be expected to travel for continuous appointments back to Sick Kids in Toronto while they monitor Noah’s condition.

“They’re 8 hours from home,” explains Audrey. “They’ve been advised they’re going to be doing regular visits, travelling from Timmins to Toronto monthly, if not bi-weekly.” Funds are to help with their current and future traveling expenses, as well as keeping up with their bills while they are unable to be home.

Community members have been offering words of support, and some have also gone an extra step and created their own fundraising efforts for Noah’s parents. Josée Ducharme, her daughter and grandchildren, along with friends managed to raise $525 on August 9th through a lemonade stand. Allyson Beland, Ducharme’s daughter, grew up with Heidi Menard in Verner and decided this was where to set up their lemonade stand. “She knew how the community really comes together for their own,” describes Ducharme. She calls the turn-out at the lemonade stand unbelievable. “People were dropping off $20-$30 at a time, and e-transferring even before they set up the stand! Never in a million years did I think we’d raise $525 in 2 hours.”

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