(KHQ)- In February of this year, 4-year-old Aeden Dupuis was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare blood disorder also known as LCH.
"Unfortunately there's not a whole lot known about this disease," explained his mom Deirdre. "So we're just kind of a shot in the dark right now, hopefully we'll learn more about it."
When Aeden was diagnosed, Deirdre needed to bring him almost immediately to Spokane for chemotherapy treatment because he had lesions on his legs and ribs. She was accompanied by her mother-in-law, Brenda, and Aeden's little brother, 14-month-old Avery. Her husband had to stay home to continue to work. The family originally stayed in a hotel but feel lucky that they were able to move to the more spacious and welcoming Ronald McDonald House.
Although the Ronald McDonald House is nothing like their real home on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Polson, Montana, it certainly has become a home away from home for them.
"I'm just very thankful for the Ronald McDonald House," explained Grandma Brenda. "I'm thankful I can be here too. I didn't think that'd be the case, but grandma's are welcome."
And not only are grandma's welcome, Aeden's little brother has been more than welcome too. He even learned to walk a few days ago at the Ronald McDonald House.
"He finally just got the courage, just let go, and now it's non-stop walking," said Deirdre. "He's walking to staff members, and it's kind of a special moment that he learned and everyone is encouraging him, experiencing this milestone we had with him...it's been a great experience considering what we're here for."
But most importantly, Aeden seems to be enjoying this home away from home.
"I know he wants to go home, it's been a while," said Brenda. "But gosh he's living here with a bunch of other kids and is having a good time. Other than the days he has to go for treatment, but the other kids keep his mind off of a lot of that."
"Since the disease, he knows there's something going on, not feeling well," said Deirdre. "He was down in the hotel room, but being here with other kids helped lift his spirits back up, just doing what kids do, and I'm grateful for that."
Deirdre said Aeden thought he would get to eat Chicken McNuggest every day because he was staying at the Ronald McDonald house, and although that's not necessarily the case, the House does offer a nugget of hope and a supersized portion of support and kindness every single day.