If you have a CHEO story you’d like to tell, we’d love to hear it. We are always in need of stories and patients and parents to be involved in CHEO Foundation fundraisers such as Radiothons and the Caring for Tiny Hearts Magazine.  Allowing us to tell your story helps raise awareness of the great work that CHEO doctors, nurses and staff do every single day.

If CHEO holds a special place in your heart, and you would like to share your story with us, please click here and e-mail us your thoughts.

Senators bring holiday cheer to CHEO’s kids

Senators bring holiday cheer to CHEO’s kids

The hockey heroes of Canada’s capital came to visit the kids at CHEO and OCTC on December 22th and once again the children, youth and their families were overjoyed to see their favorite players in person.
The Ottawa Senators started this annual tradition back in 1992 making this the 25th time the players have dropped by in December to hang out with CHEO families. Everyone at CHEO thanks the Ottawa Senators for all of their support and wishes them the best over the holidays and for the rest of the NHL season.

OCTC and CHEO – Stronger Together

One of the wonderful stories to come out of CHEO and the Foundation in 2016 is the amalgamation of CHEO and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC).   With a motto of “Stronger Together,” this amalgamation will provide families easier access to more integrated and coordinated services.  The goal is to provide services under one umbrella that will mean a single ‘system of care’ that will focus on the unique needs of the children and youth who use both CHEO and OCTC.

The CHEO Foundation was proud to be part of an exciting announcement on December 5, 2016 that would mean more positive changes for those who rely on OCTC and its programs.   On that day, construction was officially launched on an expansion of the OCTC building expected to be complete by summer 2017.

CHEO Foundation President and CEO Kevin Keohane announced $2.1 million in funding for the project to complement a $600,000 commitment from the Ontario government.  “With CHEO and OCTC sharing so many families, this amalgamation makes perfect sense.  It is an honour for us at the Foundation, thanks to the generosity of our donors, to do what we can to help make this expansion a reality.  This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure the children and youth who use OCTC to have the best environment in which to work, plan and learn so they can reach their full potential.”


The expansion replaces two portables that have become inhabitable. It will house a Francophone preschool, six new clinical treatment and observation rooms, a toy lending library, and an adaptive equipment workshop.  There will also be staff workstations and meeting space to alleviate some overcrowding at CHEO -OCTC.

Hon. Michael Couteau, Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services (CYS) was also on hand for the celebration.  “We are committed to making sure those children and youth with disabilities have access to safe, quality accommodation for their programs,” said Minister Coteau.

“This expansion will be a place for our teams to work side by side to help advance our vision of one door, one story, one care plan and one team for every child,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO – OCTC.


Reunited: Sophia and Dr. Dhanani

It’s been ten years since Sophia King Gillis and her parents, Bill and Laurel met Dr. Sonny Dhanani at CHEO. Sophia was five years old and was brought in with a very high fever and experiencing hallucinations.

That was November 3, 2006.

During the drive to the hospital – Sophia’s eyes half open and seemingly vacant, she said, “Mummy, I can’t see.” Read More


LCBO employees and generous customers inspired by brave CHEO patient

This month LCBO stores throughout Ontario are giving back in a big way thanks to a dedicated team of employees, generous customers and the inspiration of a brave young man. Read More

Meet Dawson


Donate Now

From the moment Dawson was born I learned that I would need to take life one day at a time in order to be strong for my family. I can tell you without a doubt it was not easy to think that way initially. Read More

CHEO/OCTC amalgamation

Devon’s Story

Dawson’s Story

From the moment Dawson was born I learned that I would need to take life one day at a time in order to be strong for my family. I can tell you without a doubt it was not easy to think that way initially.

Dawson was born on March 20, 2000. That day his father Patrick and I heard the doctors discussing the option of starting him on dialysis. He weighed seven pounds, 12 ounces. Dawson was born with a condition called posterior urethral valves. His kidneys were underdeveloped and did not create urine. Dawson needed CHEO’s help.

For his first four years CHEO was a lifeline for Dawson. Time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, surgeries, medications and plenty of appointments were needed to ensure that Dawson’s kidneys functioned. With the help of his nephrologist, Dr. Janusz Feber, Dawson became a candidate for a kidney transplant.

I did not hesitate for one second to be his donor. I was tested and was a match. How could I not? I would, and will do, anything to save my son’s life!

Keep strong. Never lose hope. That’s our motto. That motto was put to the test. For eight years we lived a somewhat normal life. Dawson still had to take anti-rejection drugs daily and lots of blood tests but thankfully his day-to-day consisted of school and making friends.

Then in 2012 tests showed his kidney function was decreasing. His amazing doctors gave him two options: dialysis three days a week at CHEO or at home seven nights a week.

Dawson chose nightly at home, called peritoneal dialysis. It’s a lot of work to prepare and get him hooked up. But it means his daytime life is not disrupted. He goes to school and hangs with his friends and then every night from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. he is attached to his dialysis machine. It is what keeps his body functioning while he waits for a transplant.

That’s right. Dawson needs another kidney transplant. To look at him you really can’t tell he is sick on the inside. Outwardly Dawson is a happy, super positive 16 year old. Inside, he is very sick. Having to undergo dialysis isn’t easy on him. He suffers from chest pain, muscle spasms, diet restrictions and more. There are many side effects to kidney failure.

That’s where supportive donors like you can come in. Your generous gift today means my son receives amazing care at CHEO. Please consider renewing your gift today.

You can provide hope to patients at CHEO. What we are going through is tough but with CHEO’s support we feel lucky. When we have to spend nights at CHEO, we laugh, literally. Staff members do what they can to make my son smile and laugh. You can’t know what that means when you spend your nights worrying about the future.

Humour is our medicine some days. When Dawson looks at me and says, “I’m tired of being Dawson,” I reply with, “Would you like me to call you Mike?” We laugh together. I know what he really means of course. Waiting for a kidney donor is hard. But while we wait we will laugh together. You see, we are each other’s superheroes.

You can be a superhero too. Please support CHEO and the many patients that need you, especially at this time of year.

I look forward to the day we get to report back that my son has a new kidney and no longer needs dialysis. Wouldn’t that be a special gift?

With gratitude,

Bettina Iraci

P.S. Please consider becoming a monthly donor. Your gift will help CHEO kids each and every day.

Luke’s Story



Donate NowMy husband Andrew and I are proud parents of three beautiful children. We have a dog and some chickens too so our house is busy! The kids are seven, five and three so we are always doing something – running to activities, preparing food, doing homework, playing – the usual things. Read More