Turning adversity into hope naturally took time for the Emon family when they lost their daughter, Jalynn to cancer in 2009. Jalynn Emon was a “vibrant little girl” who lost her battle to the disease at nine years of age. On May 21st, the date that she would have celebrated her 13th birthday, family and friends, along with a volunteer fundraising group, dedicated a pediatric inpatient room in her honour at Windsor Regional Hospital.
The room was painted a pacific coast blue, a favorite colour of Jalynn’s, along with the walls adorned with tropical prints. “It was the colour of her bedroom and the hospital agreed to duplicate the colour for the inpatient room,” explains her father Dave Emon. “We feel her spirit will be alive in this room and hope that any family that has to use the room or child that will be in the room in the future will feel their spirits lifted and brightened by the décor.”
In Honour of the Ones We Love, a grassroots charitable organization dedicated to helping patients afflicted by cancer met with the Emon’s soon after their loss and provided funding toward a named recognition program overseen by Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation.
Anita Imperioli, President and Founder of In Honour of the Ones We Love whose group provided the $20,000 to the hospital for the room redesign identifies with the Emons as she too lost a son to cancer. “The naming of the room is a special celebration and gift for Jalynn,” says Anita. In Honour of the Ones We Love has a long history of giving to Windsor Regional Hospital. They have provided over $300,000 toward naming a Pediatric Outpatient Wing, supporting special rooms, assisting Child Life Services and contributing toward the purchase of cancer equipment. Their goal is to ease the hardship for people dealing with cancer, from the moment of diagnosis to treatment.
“When I first contacted Debbie Emon to comfort her through her grief, what I thought would be a fifteen minute visit turned into a five hour bonding and sharing of stories of our lives and the love we have for our children.” says Anita Imperioli.
One of the unique services offered by In Honour of the Ones We Love currently is the ‘Kids Beating Cancer – Honourable Little Ninjas martial arts program’. The program was championed by In Honour for young patients suffering from cancer, chronic life-threatening illnesses and other disabilities. It teaches children to train in the martial arts, acquiring special skills to accomplish their mission to fight their disease. The result sees young children building self-esteem, confidence and discipline, using breathing techniques to improve focus and concentration. It helps them move from pain to empowerment.
When they think of Jalynn, “It is something you learn to live with,” says Dave Emon. “It’s part of our lives. My wife said it’s like sad music that is in the background of your life all the time.”
Dave went on to say, “You certainly have to go about your life and continue to live and try and find happiness in other ways, but it’s difficult at times.”
The Jaylnn Emon Pediatric inpatient room is located at the Met Campus of Windsor Regional Hospital and is one of 33 private and semi-private rooms providing care to infants, children and adolescents in Windsor and Essex County.