CAREFREE- Ronald McDonald was the life of the party during the grand opening of the Ronald McDonald House as he played with Boyd Moore

Ronald McDonald House officially opens

The Ronald McDonald House celebrated their grand opening this past Monday and families already moving in.

About 11 families will be all moved in over the course of the week and the house will serve 400 families with sick children each year.

The house offers a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families throughout Alberta during their treatment at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

The project began in 2008 with a study to determine if the need for accommodations for parents and families of sick children who were staying at the hospital was great in Red Deer.

After many plans and campaigning $12 million was raised to build the house and as of March 2010 the project was underway.

“The opening of the new Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta represents a significant and exciting milestone as the first Canadian Ronald McDonald House to open in a new market in 19 years,” said Larry Mathieson, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta.

“It is pretty exciting to get to this point and it’s hard to believe we are at this day, but as of noon the first family is scheduled to move in.”

The House has been built to hospital standards to ensure the wellness of children who are healing from illness as well as the family members staying with them. The facility also a secret mystery playroom for the kids.

Each floor is equipped with washers and dryers as well as a sitting area with a television.

“Truly it is a home of hope for Red Deer and rural communities throughout the province. The House offers a place to help families when they need it most,” said Mathieson.

The charge to stay in the House is $12 per night and to a family who may be in Red Deer for a couple of months while their loved one is in the hospital, it is very affordable.

“It’s a great resource for Red Deer and this is the 13th Ronald McDonald House in Canada. Typically the hospitals that are large children’s hospitals will be the point of interest of where a house would be built, but because Red Deer’s hospital has such a large area it is actually fitting for a house like this,” said Mathieson.

“It will be a great relief for a lot of the families.”

tsigurdson@reddeerexpress.com