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Project Kindness

Project Kindness at The Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta

Submitted by: The Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta

On August 15, 2011, Matt, Kathy, and Lylah three-year-old Oszust joyfully welcomed baby Lukas to their family. Four days later, Kathy noticed his little feet and hands were purple and his belly was mottling. A journey of faith began as Lukas was airlifted to Stollery Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome. The left side of Lukas’ heart was underdeveloped; a nurse likened it to having half a heart that is only for decoration. Most children born with this condition undiagnosed live for less than 24 hours without intervention. Lukas had lived for five days.

At three weeks old, Lukas underwent his first heart surgery. When bypass was achieved, his heart wouldn’t beat on its own. Lukas was put on life support and developed a blood clot which travelled to his brain, causing a massive stroke. This resulted in brain damage and left side paralysis. Doctors offered little if any hope to Lukas and his family. They were promised nothing: no first smiles, no first tooth, no first step and certainly no first birthday.

Lukas and his family had other plans. He has defied all odds turning one on August 15, 2012. He smiles and shows love to his family and friends. The biggest miracle of all…he now lives at home with his family.

For the majority of the Oszust family’s very long journey to getting their little boy home, they called Ronald McDonald House® Northern Alberta (RMHNA) home. At RMHNA, they found a haven – a place to feel and be normal. They found friends that knew exactly what they were going through from firsthand experience. Even after Matt and Lylah had gone back to Lacombe, Kathy felt at home at the House.

Lylah formed many special friendships and played with all of her friends at the House, never questioning the tubes and machinery of some. Instead she included her new friends in her bedtime prayers. She still loves the House and friends that she made, and while this family celebrates being able to have their little boy at home with them, they still miss the friends and comfort of RMHNA.

Lukas’ future is uncertain. “On paper, Lukas is a lost cause. His heart, brain and kidneys are irreversibly damaged. We have been told more times that I can count that he shouldn’t even be here. But he is here. Right now,” says Kathy. “We have no idea what the future holds. But we are blessed in this moment to be making memories together at home.”

For more information on the Oszust Family and other RMHNA families, please visit

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