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Family of four-year-old cancer patient living at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver for months is evicted over vaccination status


The family of a four-year-old cancer patient say they and others have been given notice that they will be evicted from the charitable Ronald McDonald House at the end of January unless they get the two-shot COVID vaccine.

Quick Facts 

“I was in shock when I received the eviction letter, and I am still in shock,” Austin Furgason, of Kelowna, British Columbia, told The Toronto Sun. 

Furgason says his family has been living in the facility for months while his son is treated for an aggressive form of leukemia at a nearby hospital. In a widely shared video on social media, Ferguson can be heard telling an RMHC employee that the policy is “some kind of crazy evil like I’ve never seen in my life.”

On the video, the employee agrees with Furgason that vaccinated people can also catch and transmit the virus, but that by banning unvaccinated patients, parents, and visitors, the organization is “trying to reduce the risk to the entire house.”

The family had hoped to remain in Vancouver until June so their son could continue his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but now they’re not sure what will happen. 

Both they and the charity’s British Columbia and Yukon branch (RMHBC) confirm that they are working with social workers to find alternative housing. In the letter to residents, RMHBC wrote that it “recognizes and acts upon its responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy environment including taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of individuals attending at an RMHBC facility, particularly given the vulnerable populations served.” 

The notice read, “Beginning Jan. 17, 2022, everyone five years and older who are working, staying or visiting our facilities, both the House at 4567 Heather St. Vancouver and at the Family Room in Surrey Memorial Hospital, must show proof of full vaccination (two doses).”

Furgason’s video has attracted a slew of social media attention, with many calling for a boycott of McDonald’s restaurants, and a GoFundMe account started in the family’s name. As of January 19, nearly $175,000 had been raised for Furgason, his wife, Lindsay, and their two children.

The Sun’s write up by op-ed columnist Joe Warmington notes that this story is “about an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

If past is prologue, then it’s an effort that will have absolutely no impact on reducing the transmission of a mutating airborne virus. Since spring 2020, Canada itself has embraced every possible tactic to slow the spread — vaccine mandates, mask mandates, social distancing, contact tracing, quarantines, remote learning, shutting down non-essential businesses and churches, arresting citizens, enforcing curfews, and even restricting when people can walk their pets — and yet the number of COVID-19 cases has only skyrocketed, hitting record levels over the past two months. This past weekend, British Columbia logged more than 5,600 new COVID cases, and the province currently has nearly 40,000 active cases — despite the fact that more than 92 percent of the adult population has received two shots of the vaccine and 35 percent have received a booster.

What’s more, even the CDC has admitted that those who are vaccinated can still spread the COVID-19 virus, including the Omicron variant. Nonetheless, policies in many localities in both the U.S. and Canada don’t recognize this reality, as those who are vaccinated are often exempt from masking requirements or allowed to enter facilities where the unvaccinated are not. And the most highly vaccinated countriesprovinces, and states have some of the highest case rates. 

In other words, as the RMHC employee admitted in the video, vaccinated parents are just as capable as unvaccinated parents of spreading the virus to the children staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Moreover, this isn’t even a universal policy within the RMHC organization, which runs nearly 700 houses in 65 countries; the leadership leaves it to local chapters to decide whether or not to mandate COVID vaccinations.

A year ago, few if any of the families at RMHC facilities were likely vaccinated and still the staff managed to continue providing this critical service to ill children and their parents. What’s changed now that there’s a vaccine? At this point, by any logical measure, nothing. The disease is now endemic and the current vaccines are not effective at stopping the spread of the virus; even those who are triple vaccinated are getting sick. 

It’s time to weigh the risk-reward factor of our COVID-19 policies and be honest and realistic. Given that RMHC has continued to operate during the COVID pandemic for nearly two years, surely there are ways to keep these children safe from this and other risks in a way that doesn’t leave unvaccinated parents out in the cold wondering how they’re going to get their children the life-saving treatment they need.

Editor’s Note: The Standing for Freedom Center takes no official position on the COVID-19 vaccination. Our position is simply freedom. We do not encourage people to take the vaccine nor do we discourage people from receiving the vaccine as we believe that is a personal choice to be made individually based on personal health, research, and individual liberty. Any opposition that our articles show towards the vaccine conversation is about the mandates, not the vaccine itself. We oppose government overreach, no matter the variable. –John Wesley Reid

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