Bob’s Discount Furniture partners with Boston Bruins and One Mission to donate furniture to a family battling childhood cancer
The Cali-Robichaud children returned home from school on Tuesday, Jan. 7 for what they thought was just another “normal” afternoon. After climbing up the stairs to the front porch, three-year-old Juliet opened the front door just like any other day – except this wasn’t just like any other day.
Waiting in the living room for Juliet, her older sister Ellie, 7, and her older brother Brayden, 9, was a bear!
No, not a real bear – a Bruin – as in Blades, the Boston Bruins mascot.
Juliet, who is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), let out a loud scream of excitement when she saw Blades resting on the couch. After taking off her shoes – just like any other school day – Juliet gave Blades a high-five and then made a left turn down the hallway to her bedroom.
“What the heck!” exclaimed Juliet as she entered her room.
Her reaction was prompted by the fact that her bedroom looked completely different from the way she left it this morning. While Juliet and her siblings were at school, the delivery crew from Bob’s Discount Furniture unloaded and set up brand-new bedroom furniture for Juliet and Ellie’s room, Brayden’s room and the parent’s room. All of the furniture was donated by Bob’s Discount Furniture in partnership with the Boston Bruins and One Mission, a pediatric cancer charity.
After the furniture was set up, representatives from One Mission and the Boston Bruins including alum P.J. Stock, helped dress the beds and put the finishing touches on the room.
“There’s nothing like seeing a smile on a kids face,” said Stock. “It’s important that we understand they’re kids and sometimes it doesn’t take the biggest gift, it’s just sometimes finding a way to make a kid smile that could change the person’s moment, day and hopefully life.”
Bright canvas prints from Alyssa and Dennis’s wedding (Juliet’s parents) hang on the living room. The high school sweethearts were married in June of 2018. Two months later they received life-changing news.
Juliet, 2 at the time, was diagnosed with AML in August of 2018. AML is a type of blood cancer.
Juliet was treated at Boston Children’s Hospital where she spent six months as an inpatient, undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
“It was very intense chemotherapy,” described Alyssa. “She was in the hospital for extended periods of time. She was very sick and when we found out she was in remission it was the best day of our lives, hands down. And since then we’ve been grateful for every moment, and every day with her that she stays in remission and we hope that she’ll stay in remission forever!
While Juliet was an inpatient at Boston Children’s Hospital, either Alyssa or Dennis was always at her side. The couple took turns staying overnight with Juliet at the hospital.
“Dennis and I would switch off and wave goodbye in the parking lot essentially,” recalled Alyssa.
Juliet was an inpatient in the fall of 2018 into the winter of 2019. She spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at Boston Children’s. Alyssa credits One Mission with making the holiday season as special as possible for Juliet and the family. One Mission even decorated her room for Christmas.
“Just trying to keep it as normal as possible despite the fact that our whole world was upside down,” said Alyssa.
On January 23, 2019, Juliet received her last round of chemotherapy. Tests revealed that she was in remission and in February she was released from the hospital. Alyssa and Dennis are happy to report that Juliet remains in remission!
One Mission, a pediatric cancer charity that does whatever it takes to get kids through cancer treatment, helped organize the furniture donation. One Mission programs make living in the hospital less lonely and stressful, bring back joy in a time of fear and uncertainty, and give kids and their loved ones the support they need to get through the emotional and financial challenges of treatment. Programs include art and music therapy, catered meals, in-hospital birthday parties & holiday celebrations, yoga and massage, redecorated hospital rooms, financial relief, housing assistance, and so much more.
Since 2009, One Mission has raised more than $12 Million dollars and has brought smiles, comfort and support to over 11,000 kids fighting cancer and their families.
“We see kids going through something they should never have to go through on a daily basis, and the whole family is affected,” said Abby Porosky, Managing Director, One Mission.
“It’s so much more than just the treatments. It’s the financial and emotional burden the family has to go through. So, being able to do something like this for Juliet and her family, and allowing them more quality time together, is very special.”
Shopping Trip to Bob’s!
On Monday, Dec. 23, Juliet, her parents and older sister Ellie, visited the Worcester, Mass location to pick out new furniture. They were joined by Blades and Bruins Alum and Bruins Foundation President Bob Sweeney.
Holding hands with her mom and Blades, Juliet immediately walked over to the bunk beds and picked out the one she liked. She played a little peek-a-boo with Blades and had a great time going up and down the stairs on the side of the bunk bed.
Juliet then helped her father select a new bed for her older brother Brayden.
After entering the small group on this shopping trip with her rendition of the ABC song, Juliet proceeded to the rug section to pick out something comfy for her feet.
She soon discovered that the rugs are not only great for covering your floor, but for also making rug angels!
After flapping her arms, it was time for snack at my cafe. Ice cream and Gummy Bears were the vibrant toddler’s snack of choice on this day.
Juliet’s Jammies Club
One of my favorite aspects of all the furniture donations is meeting the families and learning more about their stories. Every family, every story is unique and I am constantly amazed at the strength these families show despite the tough times they’ve been through.
The Cali-Robichaud family started Juliet’s Jammies Club as a way to spread Juliet’s love for pajamas to kids battling childhood cancer. During this past holiday season, over a thousand pairs of pajamas were donated. The family delivers these jammies to various children’s hospitals and cancer organizations.
“Any way that we can help as well is really important to us,” said Dennis.
For more information on Juliet’s Jammies, visit their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/JulietValerieStrong/.