WARMINGTON: Unvaxxed Furgason family moving from Ronald McDonald House to new digs

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The bad news is four-year-old leukemia patient Jack Furgason and his family are moving out of Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House.

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The good news is they have a new location that does not require the Kelowna family to be vaccinated.

“Things are going good,” Austin Furgason, Jack’s father, said Thursday. “We found a place at Easter Seals House.”

It’s turning out to be a win-win of sorts. Ronald McDonald House can maintain its new mandate and the family choosing not to comply has found another shelter arrangement.

Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House gave the family until the end of the month to be vaccinated or face eviction from the facility where they had been staying since October to meet new vaccine protocols.

Fortunately, another home that helps families with a child in hospital stepped up to ensure there was no extra stress for the Furgasons. The family will first head home to Kelowna for a week, then they’ll move into their new temporary digs once they return.

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“Easter Seals House is a place to stay when travelling to Vancouver for medical treatment and appointments,” the Easter Seals House website states. “Suites are also available for respite to parents and families needing a place to stay to relax and recharge.”

  1. Austin Fergason

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While there are strong views on both sides of this story, it is important to keep in mind there is no bad guy here. Ronald McDonald House has always offered outstanding support to families and was bringing in guidelines it felt necessary to keep all of their guests safe. The Furgasons were right to be taken aback by something introduced while in the middle of focusing on Jack’s life-saving treatment.

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A strong religious family was being true to their values and had only heard of the rule change through a distributed letter. Austin, his wife Lindsay and their two-year-old son Lewis have seen their lives turned upside down by both Jack’s illness and this unexpected disruption.

“When I posted it, I didn’t realize it would be picked up by so many,” Austin told me, referring to a GoFundMe campaign launched by a friend to highlight his family’s plight.

This was a story heard and reacted to around the world. Austin and Lindsay were also surprised and thankful for the more than $155,000 people had donated as of Thursday afternoon.

While many are helping the family with donations, others have also contacted the Toronto Sun expressing support for Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House.

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The family is “pronouncing themselves as martyrs because they don’t want a vaccine that they are unable and incapable to comprehend will end this pandemic,” said Stan Ouimet. “Be part of the solution not the problem. No sympathy from me.”

But Patricia Eipl wrote, “As a mother I feel he’s being denied the comfort and care necessary for this brave young man. He needs his family.”

This last point is the most important one.

While it is true Jack’s treatment was dealt a major distraction this week, starting next week there’s a whole new approach kicking in and the Furgasons can put their focus on getting him healthy once again.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

twitter.com/joe_warmington

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