The Chikuse Family

Calgary House

Fort McMurray, Alberta
WestJet’s Father’s Day video reaches over 100,000 views to bring another family together.

In 2012, 12-year-old Tanya Chikuse, usually full of energy and life, was feeling lethargic and unwell. “I would walk up the stairs in our house and I would be so tired,” says Tanya. After a visit to the doctor and several blood tests, she was diagnosed with Franconi Anemia, an inherited disease that affects the bone marrow. Undetected, it can lead to Leukemia. With Tanya’s best chance for a cure in Calgary, the family arrived on October 29, 2013. Calgary was a long way from her home in Fort McMurray (an eight hour drive) and after her surgery, she needed to stay close to the hospital for at least 100 days until her immune system was strong enough to go home. Tanya and her family have now stayed over 220 nights at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta.

Tanya’s parents, Spiewe and Shorayi have been taking turns staying with Tanya in Calgary, while the other works in Fort McMurray. Until this weekend, Tanya hadn’t seen her mom in almost a month. “I miss my mom so much,” says Tanya. “Hopefully we can go shopping to get a Father’s Day present for dad. He needs some new ties… and maybe some skinny jeans.”

Thanks to Westjet and RMHC Canada, Tanya and her dad surprised her mom and sister on Thursday, June 5 via Skype with the gift of flight to be together at Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta for the weekend. The reaction of Tanya’s mom and sister over this surprise can’t be described in words. But Tanya’s mom did say, “I can’t believe it! God Bless you WestJet! And thank you Ronald McDonald House. You will always be our home away from home.”

The pair will be arriving at the Calgary airport on their direct WestJet flight from Fort McMurray on Friday, June 6 at 4 p.m. Here’s to a weekend of togetherness!

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