On October 1st, Nykola Selig celebrated a very special birthday – her sweet sixteen.
In the lead up to her day, she was not only planning her own celebration in Halifax but also thinking about how she could help other kids and families.
“I wanted to give the kids in the hospital a chance to celebrate their birthday when they weren’t home,” says Nykola, from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Nykola understands firsthand what it is like to be hospitalized.
In August, she was diagnosed with her second brain tumour after having her first one at the age of five. Her parents, Margaret and Kevin, stayed at the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Halifax while she underwent surgery.
“The day of her surgery we were at the hospital at 6 a.m.,” shares Margaret. “My parents had come up from Yarmouth, her sister who lives in the city was here, and my sister and her husband came to the hospital. There were a lot of us and it was great to have that support but if we didn’t have a place like the Family Room, we couldn’t have all been there. It was one less stress.”
Nykola’s extended family used the Family Room to eat lunch, make tea and coffee, and to relax while waiting for news during her day long surgery.
“I came back to the Family Room to sleep that night and I set my alarm for three in the morning so I could be back in the ICU when she woke up,” remembers Margaret. “It was perfect. The Family Room gives families that sense of comfort.”
Although Nykola spent most of her time in the ICU, she knew the impact it had on her family.
“I got to stop in to the Family Room but I didn’t really get to stay,” says Nykola. “My family liked that they could just relax and take a break from worrying about me.” So as her birthday approached, they discussed doing something special.
“My mom and I talked about what I could do that would help people out,” says Nykola. “I thought what about the Ronald McDonald Family Room? That’s perfect. They helped us out.”
So on October 1st, she spent the morning of her sweet sixteen shopping for birthday party supplies with her friend and then dropped by the Halifax Family Room to donate the items.
“Now when families need to be at the hospital during birthday parties, there’ll be a party ready for them,” adds Margaret. “It was Nykola’s way of giving back and it was also a way to say thank you for being there when families are in need.”