STEADY WORK- Tradesmen work on the roof of the Ronald McDonald House as construction continues to move along.

Goal reached for Ronald McDonald capital campaign

After a successful capital campaign, officials with the Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta have reached their fundraising goal.

At a press conference held recently in Red Deer, officials with the organization announced they have raised $12 million to complete the Ronald McDonald House in the City.

“When Reg and I began this journey 18 months ago, we knew raising $12 million was a lot,” said Lyn Radford, capital campaign chair. “But we also knew that if any community could rally behind a great cause that helps support families, Central Albertans could do it.”

The 11-bedroom, 27,000 sq. ft. facility, located at 3908 — 50 Ave. in Red Deer, 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.

Operating costs for the facility will be about $1.1 million annually.

Larry Mathieson, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta, said the excitement around the House continues to grow in the community.

“When we started on this project in 2008 with a feasibility study, it was merely a dream,” he said. “Now, with the roof currently being installed on the House, this dream is clearly becoming a reality. To see the support in the community and the groups come out to help us raise this money has been so gratifying.

“The sense of community that’s gathered around the families that this House will serve has just been phenomenal.”

Mathieson said the short time frame in which campaign officials were able to raise money for the development of the facility was “incredible”.

“A lot of campaigns of this size you look at anywhere between one and two years to raise this money,” he said. “Our board made a requirement that we raise at least 80 per cent of the cash and pledges before we broke ground. They were able to raise this amount in about 90 days which is unbelievable for a campaign like this.”

Mathieson anticipates the home will serve upwards of 400 families each year.

Families are charged $12 per night to stay there.

“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.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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