More than a decade ago, Megan and Nathan Albertini’s son, Hayden, 13, was diagnosed with two forms of epilepsy, one of which an extremely rare form of the disorder. The diagnosis means Hayden spends a lot of time at CHEO, often around the holidays as viruses and colds make their rounds.
To make sure Hayden feels the holiday warmth during his favourite time of the year, the Albertini family started decorating their home with extravagant light displays starting in late November and early December. The cornucopia of lights, figurines and blow-up Santas would give Hayden, his older brother, Logan, 17, and older sister, Madi, 15, some Christmas cheer when times get tough.
“We really did it for Hayden,” said Madi. “Christmas is his favourite time of the year so we wanted him to feel better when he was in the hospital.”
A few years ago, the Albertinis decided to attract people with their eye-catching decorations and ask them to give to a good cause. Hayden’s experience in and out of CHEO, as well as Madi’s, who also has epilepsy, inspired them to start a fundraiser and raise money for the children’s hospital.
“It’s about giving back to an organization that holds a special place in our heart,” said Megan. “And we want to get the whole community involved.”
Last year, the Albertinis raised more than $6500. They hope Clarence-Rockland’s generosity will exceed that of their old neighbourhood and allow them to give even more to CHEO.
The Albertinis display is turned on every night from 5 to 10 p.m. for passersby to enjoy, starting December 1, at 1105 Des Merisiers Street in Rockland. The family stands out front to greet onlookers and collect donations either in cash or directly through their CHEO fundraising page. They even have Santa coming to visit little ones on the weekends from 6 to 8 p.m.
More information and a link to the family’s CHEO donation page can be found at https://cheofoundation.donordrive.com/campaign/ChristmasDisplayforCHEO.