With bright, colourful walls, inspirational quotes on the bed’s pillows and superhero characters plastered everywhere, what was once a cold, barren hospital room has become so much more thanks to the memory of a special little boy.
Caleb MacArthur, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was only three years old, was a palliative care patient in that very same Cape Breton Regional Hospital room. He was known to frequently dress up as his favourite superhero, Superman, during his stay at the hospital.
Although he died more than two years ago, Caleb’s parents are keeping his memory alive.
With the help of the community, the MacArthur family raised enough money to renovate their son’s hospital room into a brand new palliative oncology room that feels more like a home than a hospital.
The little boy’s family used his favourite superhero sword to cut the yellow ribbon and unveil “Caleb’s Superhero Suite” on Wednesday. The room’s unveiling had particular significance for Caleb’s parents, who hadn’t stepped foot in it since their son was a patient there.
“It was completely overwhelming when we first walked in,” Caleb’s father Mike MacArthur told CTV Atlantic on Wednesday. “To see the change from the cold hospital room it was, to this warm welcoming area.”
Caleb’s mother, Nicole Forgeron, agreed that the room’s transformation was exactly what they had in mind.
“I wanted it to be bright and cheery and fun and inspiring for families coming in, and I think we accomplished that,” she said.
The funding for the remodelled room, which is the only dedicated palliative oncology room in the province outside of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, came from a number of different community sources.
Three-quarters of the $160,000 project came from in-kind donations, while another $75,000 was awarded to a movement in Caleb’s memory called “Caleb’s Courage” from the Aviva Community Fund. Any extra money will be donated to an endowment fund in the little boy’s memory.
The hospital’s CEO, Brad Jacobs, praised the MacArthur family for all their hard work in making “Caleb’s Superhero Suite” a reality.
“Imagine going through the most difficult time in your life. They had the faith and perseverance to be able to give back, and it’s just a tremendous story that we can all be very proud of,” Jacobs said.
Caleb’s parents said he would have been amazed by his old room’s makeover.
“It’s a superhero room for our little superhero,” Forgeron said. “I know he loves it.”
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald