Written by Shauna Banman
Our son, Carson John Henry Banman, was originally diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in March of 2005 at the age of two and a half. Carson, his brother Tanner, his dad Pete and me, his mom loaded up our truck with a few necessities and headed for to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary; a five hour drive from our home in Creston, BC. We were about to embark on an incredible journey.
Our family spent the first night together in Carson’s hospital room. By the next day we were given the opportunity to go visit Ronald McDonald House and make arrangements for accommodation. It soon became obvious that this was so much more than just a place to stay for our family. It became our HOME. It was a place where family and friends could gather to rally around and support Carson. It became a place where lasting new friendships were born. Ronald McDonald House became a vital part of our family life.
After several months of treatment, Carson went into remission and then we were able to return to Creston. For almost three years, life returned to normal. Carson was happy and healthy. Unfortunately in February of 2008, Carson’s leukemia returned and we were up rooted again. We headed back to Calgary, back to the new Alberta Children’s Hospital and back to the new Ronald McDonald House.
This time, Carson and I were air lifted to Calgary. During the late night flight, Carson asked me if we would be going to “Donald’s House.” I assured him that we would be and he smiled and said, “We’ll be okay then, won’t we mom?”
Carson loved Ronald McDonald House. He loved everyone there. He was full of joy and excitement as soon as he walked through the doors. His eyes would sparkle and he would announce his arrival by saying “Hi, I’M HOME.” The staff, the volunteers and the other families staying there all knew who he was. He made everyone smile. He greeted everyone with a big smile and laughter. He loved the playground, the baking, Sully, the train to eat at, the play area, the crafts, and riding a bike to the nearby pond where he could feed ducks. But the thing he loved the most was the time he got to spend with his little brother Tanner, his parents and his family. He loved teaching Tanner how to do the monkey bars, cooking with his aunties and cuddles on the couch. He made so many wonderful friends which made his journey so much easier.
On June 21, 2008, Carson lost his very brave battle. We cherish the time we had with him. The memories we have are dear to our hearts. A large part of those memories were made within the walls of Ronald McDonald House. For that, we are truly grateful.
What a beautiful difference one single life made.
We love you always Carson.