Family’s Third Adopted Child with Complex Developmental Needs is Named an Ambassador

HAMILTON, ON: Tara and Amanda from Hamilton are well acquainted with the services at McMaster Children’s Hospital, as they have adopted multiple children with complex physical and developmental needs.

DoraLee in her wheelchair, wearing her Cheer Squad uniform, is smiling for a photo.

MacKids Ambassador DoraLee

Their adult son was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormal brain development. He received care through the Hospital’s Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Program (DPRP) as a child, which included physiotherapy, occupational therapy and custom-wheelchair seating, in addition to many outpatient clinic visits at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Likewise, their adult daughter was hospitalized as an infant multiple times for encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain. She also received care throughout her childhood in the DPRP.

Tara and Amanda’s third adopted child, DoraLee, currently receives care at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

DoraLee was born prematurely at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She spent some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after.

Tara and Amanda first met DoraLee after her first birthday. Although DoraLee was supposed to be fostered for only a short period, the family fell in love with her.

“In our hearts, we knew DoraLee needed to be a permanent member of our family,” says Tara. “We officially adopted her when she was two-and-a-half years old.”

From birth, DoraLee received occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy as part of the DPRP at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

Now a teenager, DoraLee continues to receive occupational and physiotherapy at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre to enhance her mobility, as CP causes extreme muscle stiffness and the loss of motor control. She also visits the Prosthetics and Orthotics Service for leg braces.

“DoraLee will reach her full potential thanks to Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre,” says Tara. “The Centre makes our lives easier and it’s comforting that they’re just a phone call away.”

DoraLee was selected to be a MacKids Ambassador for the upcoming MacKids Walk & Wheel on June 1 because of her resilience in the face of adversity. She is sharing her story to increase awareness of the life-changing services at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, and to motivate the public to register and fundraise for the event.

“DoraLee is flourishing as she continues on her patient journey,” says Pearl Veenema, President and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation. “We hope her story will inspire communities across the region to support MacKids Walk & Wheel. Our team is honoured to have DoraLee as a MacKids Ambassador who represents the patients that receive life-altering care at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.”

McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation is proud to host the eighth-annual MacKids Walk & Wheel, presented by RBC, on Saturday, June 1. All ages are encouraged to register and fundraise to help us achieve our goal of $200,000 in support of highest priority needs at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

In partnership with the Hamilton Police Service and Hamilton Public Health, the event includes:

  • Tikes on Trikes Bike Ride for ages two to five
  • Wonders on Wheels Bike Ride for ages six to 10
  • Trailblazers family walk for all ages

Every registrant will also receive free access to MiracleFest, featuring lunch, inflatable bouncers, photo booth, Teddy Bear Hospital sponsored by Marz Homes and many more family-friendly attractions.

To register and fundraise, or to read the stories of our other MacKids Ambassadors, visit

Note: Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Those wishing to sponsor or donate prizes may contact Milaina Wright at 905-521-2100 ext. 76787 or


Media Contact:

Michael Cordeiro
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation
905-521-2100 ext. 73374

About McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation:

 McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation, as part of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, provides vital funding to enable the best possible patient care at McMaster Children’s Hospital, including Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre and McMaster University Medical Centre. The Foundation inspires and motivates gifts that fund medical equipment and patient amenities, innovative research initiatives, essential redevelopment of clinical care spaces, and the education and training of health care providers.

McMaster Children’s Hospital is the second largest provider of inpatient pediatric services in Ontario. The Hospital is home to the province’s largest neonatal intensive care unit including supportive maternal care, the largest pediatric mental health program in Canada, and the only inpatient pediatric cancer program in south-central Ontario.