This is a really special edition of the Ms New Brunswick series. Courtney Glazier doesn't have her own business, but she is volunteering her time to an important cause that helps families cope when dealing with childhood illness. She has agreed to help organize and be a Family Ambassador for Saint John's first ever PJ Walk in support of the Ronald McDonald House in Halifax. She is working with the Ronald McDonald House Charity to hopefully raise $45,000 locally to help support families who use the Ronald McDonald House. Did you know that half of the families who stay at the RMH next to the IWK are from New Brunswick? For these families, the RMH is a true home away from home, and we are lucky enough to be able to support them locally this summer through the PJ Walk. The walk is happening in numerous cities across the province, to find one near you check out the RMH website.
For Courtney, the work is extremely personal, as her son Jaxon is currently battling cancer, and she is often a guest of RMH in Halifax to be close by during his treatments. The emotional toll of having a sick child is beyond what I can personally imagine, and so I am grateful for a place like the RMH that relieves the pressure of finding affordable accommodations for families who are dealing with childhood illness. Staying at the House is free to families in need, but it does cost approximately $140/day to host a family. That is what makes events like the PJ Walk so important. My family and I will be there in support of Team Jaxon, and we invite you to join us!
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Courtney, and I’m a single mom of two kids. I work fulltime at a daycare here in Saint John, and I also volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC). I got involved with them after spending some time at the Ronald McDonald house in Halifax when my son needed treatment at the IWK. My little guy, Jaxon, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma so we have spent quite a lot of time at the Ronald McDonald House. He has had to have surgery to remove a tumor on his adrenal gland, and we are currently monitoring a second tumor. We have a long road ahead of us still, so we still go to the IWK regularly for his treatments, spending a couple of days there every month or two.
Why do you volunteer for RMHC?
The Ronald McDonald house has been awesome. I was really nervous to stay there at first because I was a little bit worried about being surrounded by sick children, and having to face the fact that I had a sick kid. For me, it was having to come to terms with the fact that my son was really that ill that held me back. Of course, it was not financially sustainable for me to stay in hotels with the frequency we had to go to Halifax, so eventually I did go, and now I love it. The staff are so friendly, and they have treated my family so well. They serve us home cooked meals, take care of our belongings and even threw us a full Christmas last year because we were down for treatments over the holidays.
How do you manage to travel so frequently for his care?
I work for a daycare here in Saint John and they have been very supportive and very accommodating. They give me the time off I need to travel with my son, but of course it’s unpaid. That’s why having the Ronald McDonald house is so important to us and to other families like ours. I don’t have to worry about the cost of living and can focus on taking care of Jaxon.
Is that why you got involved with the RMHC to help plan Saint John’s first PJ Walk?
Yes. I have nothing but positive things to say about the Ronald McDonald house, and I want to give a bit back for all the help that I have received from them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to afford to travel to take my son to get the care he needs. No parent should have to choose between paying the bills and their children’s health and wellbeing, and so I want to be able to help other families that find themselves in a situation like ours. For me, that means helping out with the PJ Walk. This is a great fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald house and I am very proud to be working with RMHC to make this happen here.
What do we need to know about the PJ Walk?
It’s June 10th at Rockwood Park and it goes from 9-11am. There will be a pancake breakfast and we will have teddy bears for the kids, face painting, bouncy castles plus the walk will be so fun! This is a great event for families, and bonus, it’s such a wonderful cause.
You can register for the walk online or check out the event on Facebook. The goal is for each person to raise $140. That is what it costs for a family to stay at Ronald McDonald house for one night. If you are in Saint John and want to join our team, please do! We are Team Jaxon, and we would love to have you join us. Our community goal is to raise $45,000 and I truly believe that Saint John can do it!
If you are unable to come to the walk, you can still donate to this or other events that support that Ronald McDonald house. You can donate cash at anytime at any McDonald’s restaurant, or you can head to the website and donate online.
Do you have any advice for other families in your situation?
Don’t feel awkward and uncomfortable with going to Ronald McDonald house. I quickly learned that I didn’t have to feel so alone going through this, and that there were other families going through similar ordeals. It truly is a home away from home. Mostly, I would encourage anyone going through something like this and dealing with a sick child, to be open to all the help they can get and to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
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