Families can find solace at the Ronald McDonald House

Officials gearing up for public open houses in November

As the Ronald McDonald House gets closer to completion, the focus turns to families who will use the facility.

Families using the House will have children or loved ones in the hospital and some of the patients will even stay in the facility. The House will give family members a home away from home and a place to unwind.

The 11-suite, 27,000 sq. ft. facility, located at 3908 50 Ave., will open to families this fall. The House will be built to hospital standards to ensure the wellness of children who are recuperating from illness as well as the family members staying with them. The facility will have a special care nursery.

In June, officials with the Ronald McDonald House announced that they had reached their campaign goal. Twelve million dollars was raised to build the facility.

Operating costs will be about $1.1 million annually.

“We think we’ll see about 400 families per year,” said Larry Mathieson, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta. “We’ll see families and kids for all sorts of reasons but there will be a good number of families here because they have babies who are medically fragile.

“We’ll see families where mom is at bedside and the dad will stay in the House and they’ll swap out. The House provides family members with a solace and more than anything we want the whole family to be together so this gives them that opportunity.”

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.

“The cost to provide the services are quite a bit more – in Red Deer it’ll probably be $100 a night and that difference we make up by fundraising,” said Mathieson. “However, we don’t ever turn a family away if they can’t afford to pay the $12. If families are eligible for support from the province than we help them get that and if they are not eligible and they just can’t pay it then we eat that cost.”

There will also be room in the Ronald McDonald House for families who live close by but are spending their days at the hospital with loved ones.

“We have a couple of rooms that people who are spending a lot of time at the hospital can come and relax in , watch TV and have a coffee. We will have supports for families who live in Red Deer who use the hospital so they don’t have to go home four or five times a day.”

He added the House will also allow for families to support each other while they’re staying there.

“No one really knows what you’re going through like someone else who is going through similar situations,” said Mathieson. “We design not only the building but the programming to facilitate support. In this building we’ve built a communal kitchen so families can cook together.”

There will also be programming for families to partake in while they stay at the House.

“Our programming allows for families to forget even for a moment what they are going through. Activities will be organized for the whole family and for just kids as well. In Calgary we have recreational and educational programs.”

In addition Mathieson said there will be many opportunities for community members to volunteer once the House is open.

“We will have opportunities for host volunteers to check families in when they arrive. We will have volunteer dinner groups and who cook meals for the families as well as recreation volunteers like magicians or clowns to provide entertainment.”

As for opening the House, Mathieson said the goal is to have families staying at the facility before the Christmas season.

“We will begin announcing our open house dates which should be around November so we can show the public what we’ve built before families move in.”

Just Posted

RCMP offer crime prevention tips for the holiday season

Red Deer RCMP give tips so holidays aren’t marred by theft or damage

RCMP lay 34 charges in stolen vehicle operation

Red Deer RCMP arrest 13 people in four-day covert stolen vehicle operation last week

Last Christmas for Ten Thousand Villages in Red Deer

The fair trade organization will be closing its doors in the New Year

Olympic sportscaster Brian Williams says IOC too lenient on Russians

Williams was in Red Deer for a speech for Farm Credit Canada

A 37-year-old Red Deer man arrested for impaired driving

Man sustained serious injuries in two-vehicle collision

Troubled Monk releases new spirit

Troubled Spirit vodka was introduced in early December

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Most Read