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Parker’s story: the next chapter

Laura Bohnert

A couple of years ago, a little boy had his story told, the message of which emphasized the importance of the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Today, the now seven-year old Parker Bergeson is still working hard to help other sick kids, and he’s taking part in the Superhero Soiree to make it happen.

The Superhero Soiree features a group of superfundraisers, “kids under the age of 17 who are raising money for the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton,” Robin Bergeson, mother of Parker, explains.

This year, there are around 15 kids raising money, Bergeson says, and Parker is one of them.

Parker was born at 32 weeks, weighing in at three pounds and eleven ounces. Because of his two-month-premature birth, he has had to face a number of related medical complications, including EA/TEF (Esophageal Atresia/Tracheoesophageal Fistula), Tracheomalacia, VACTERL, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), and Reactive Airway Disease. He is also immunocompromised, which means even a cold can be life-threatening to him (and means yet another admission to hospital).

As a result of Parker’s condition, he was required to spend a lot of time in hospital. The first four and a half months of his life were spent at the NICU (the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and in the following years, he experienced further hospital visits and stays.

In addition to the strain of having a child in hospital, Parker’s health meant a lot of hotel stays for Bergeson.

“I would estimate that we’ve spent at least 6 month’s worth of time or more in hotels,” says Bergeson. “Because of Parker’s illnesses, we had to keep ourselves isolated, and that meant we couldn’t stay right in the Ronald McDonald House,” she explains. “But I was able to spend months at a time in hotel with the Ronald McDonald House rate.”

The Ronald McDonald House provides parents of sick children with access to a special rate that enables them to stay in hotels close to their children’s hospitals much more affordably, and that is an important aid to parents who may be looking at lengthy stays, or who may need to allocate a tight budget to fulfilling other needs for their child.

The Superhero Soiree provides Parker with an opportunity to raise a little money to support a program that has helped him through the first stages of his life. The money that is raised goes directly to the Ronald McDonald House charities in Alberta, and the money Parker is raising will be specifically helping the Northern Alberta House (in Edmonton).

The highest fundraiser will win either a four-day trip to California, a trip to Mexico, or a Florida Land & Sea trip, depending on the amount of funds raised—but while any trip would be fun, Parker’s efforts are more about raising money for the House, Bergeson explains.

“The Ronald McDonald house is very important to parents with kids who are sick. Those who live in rural communities need places to stay when they travel back and forth,” Bergeson stresses. “It’s expensive to travel back and forth or to stay in hotels all the time. Plus, the Ronald McDonald House provides meals now. Part of the funds raised will go toward helping to provide meals. The House currently provides dinner almost every night, but they are hoping to be able to provide three meals a day soon.”

“The Ronald McDonald House helps parents be close to their kids, and that’s good for the kids. They get better a lot quicker when their parents are close,” Bergeson concludes.

If you are interested in helping Parker raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, you can contact Robin Bergeson at [email protected] to fill out a pledge form.

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