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.

Isla MacIntosh


Isla MacIntosh is so much fun to get to know. She’s energetic, enthusiastic, kind and vibrant. Like a lot of wonderful young people in our community she has dreams for the future and a varied list of sports she likes to play and things she’s excited to be learning in school. But unlike many of her peers Isla’s had challenges to face. Read More

CHEO patient Jacob Randell hosts a party for Champions from across Canada!

Spring17CMNEach year, CHEO identifies a remarkable child to represent all CHEO patients in the Children’s Miracle Network Champions program presented by Walmart Canada. This awareness program was designed to educate communities on the life-saving work being done by pediatric hospitals across the continent. Jacob Randell has been a CHEO patient since being diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour at the age of five. Read More

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. Read More

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.  Read More


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.