Montreal’s Lighthouse centre shines light on long-term pediatric care
MONTREAL -- There aren’t any COVID-19 patients or seniors staying at the Maison Andre-Gratton long-term care facility.
The non-profit on Mont-Royal Street East also known as the Lighthouse is a temporary home for children, many of whom aren’t expected to live long because of severe medical issues. The centre is their palliative care unit.
“[We] make sure that these children live life to the fullest, and have moments where they can remain children and have moments where, throughout their illness, can forget about what’s going on in their bodies,” said Clinical Nurse Supervisor Ariane Parent-Lemay.
Seven-year-old Samuel Becker was born with a severe brain malformation. He was given six months to live and needs round the clock care, which his family has provided since he came into the world.
“I focus on the fact that everything happens for a reason,” his father, Daniel Becker, told CTV News. “My focus with Samuel has always been to give him the best quality of life possible.”
But even the best parents need help: Samuel now stays at the Lighthouse regularly.
“When he goes to the Lighthouse, he comes home well nourished, he’s healthy, good circulation, stimulated, laughing and happy,” said Becker. “I’ve actually found that his day to day quality of life has improved.”
The Lighthouse relies on a combination of government funding and private donations, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the institution to cancel all its fundraising events. It’s now appealing to the public for help.
“The COVID time is challenging for all the community organizations but donors are open minded,” said the Lighthouse Associate Executive Director Adam Mongodin.
The Lighthouse needs half a million dollars to make it through the crisis. It’s 80 staff members and hundreds of volunteers care for 12 children at a time, but the wait list is long.
“Some of [the children] don’t have an understanding of what’s going on,” said Mongodin. “It’s really to provide them with moments when they can be themselves, moments when they can have fun and their families are thriving.”