Vicky & Trevor Kean’s fourth child Luke was born five weeks early after Vicky was airlifted out of Fort Vermillion to Edmonton. Luke was born with an extremely rare condition called Iniencephaly. In fact, Luke’s condition is so rare that doctors told Vicky & Trevor to be prepared for the worst before he was even born.
But Luke is a fighter. At over two years old, he is one of the only known children to have survived longer than a few hours after birth with this condition.
“We were expecting to say goodbye to him after we had him,” Vicky says, “but he decided he wanted to live.”
The Kean family has spent a combined 59 nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton, after doctors at the Stollery Children’s Hospital operated on Luke’s heart when he was just two weeks old.
“If we didn’t have the Ronald McDonald House,” says Vicky, “we would have had to eventually stay in our vehicle because we wouldn’t have been able to support ourselves for that long.”
Aside from the financial implications, Vicky says the Ronald McDonald House made things easy. “It was a place I could go after spending all day in the hospital to rest, regroup, and to have a break,” she says.
“I could focus solely on Luke.”
Vicky & Trevor’s three other children came to stay at the House for a couple of weeks as well. “They loved the Ronald McDonald House so much,” she says. “They didn’t want to leave.”
“They loved the toys, the other children, the atmosphere…they loved visiting the staff and the office.”
Luke has made huge strides. His last heart repair was in February 2020, just before COVID-19 hit, and Vicky says doctors are blown away by his development. “He is doing all the things he wasn’t supposed to do.”
Vicky credits the House for helping her through some tough times. “It’s a lifesaver,” she says. “When you’re in the lowest spot you could possibly be in, to have the House there to help you cope, literally helps carry you through.”
“Coming back on the last shuttle…that’s when all the families are there,” she describes. “You just share how your day went. It’s just like one big family – you feel so at ease to cry, be happy for others, or share your experiences.”
“I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the House.”