CONSTRUCTION-Work continues at the Gaetz Ave. site of the new Ronald McDonald house.

Fundraising continues for Ronald McDonald House

Fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta continues as a charity bonspiel was announced in order to help cover operating costs of the facility.

The Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel, presented by Fas Gas Plus, will take place Jan. 7-9, 2011 at the Red Deer Curling Centre and will help raise funds for ongoing operating costs of the building.

Officials estimate the operating budget for the facility will be around $1 million per year. They are hoping to raise about $100,000 from the bonspiel.

A fundraising goal for the house is pegged at $12 million — $1 million of that has yet to be raised.

“We wanted to do an event that was a fundraiser and an opportunity to be visible about what the house does,” said Larry Mathieson, executive director of Ronald McDonald House for southern Alberta. “This is something that can be a yearly event to help with operating costs of the house.”

There will be three divisions in the bonspiel in hopes of attracting all levels of curlers.

“If you’re a really good curler you can come out and have a great time and if you’re a beginner and like it for more the social experience you can come out and have a great time,” said Mathieson.

Two of the best curlers in the world will also make an appearance during the fundraising event.

Kevin Martin and Marc Kennedy will be on hand on Jan. 8 for a meet and greet.

“They are both so generous with their time and from very early on they said they’ll support us and make time in their schedule to make an appearance,” said Mathieson.

The Ronald McDonald House, which is located at 3908 Gaetz Ave., is expected to be completed next summer and will provide a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children who are being treated at nearby hospitals.

Ronald McDonald House offers families a warm, compassionate and comfortable home environment for a nominal fee.

It is a place where families can be together and kids can share experiences with others who are just like them.

In 2008, the David Thompson Health Region and Ronald McDonald House Charities Global conducted a study on the number of out-of-town families using the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre for care of their sick child.

The numbers showed a Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer should be ready to accommodate about 450 families each year.

“We charge families $12 a night to stay at the house, but we never turn families away because they can’t afford to stay in the house,” said Mathieson. “A lot of what we do is really around reducing the economic impact for families – their kids are sick and they have to travel a long way – so a lot of our fundraising happens on events like this.”

Meanwhile, registration for the Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel is open at www.rmhcentralalberta.org.

The registration fee includes three games, draw prizes, awards, a Friday night mixer and a Saturday night dinner and dance.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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