Despite wind and hail and an ominous sky, the dads staying at Ronald McDonald House in Calgary were all smiles for their early Father’s Day celebration on Friday June 12.
The Calgary Stampeders had arranged a surprise for the group. At 6:00 pm, a limousine pulled up the drive to the House with bags of Stampeders swag. The destination? McMahon Stadium for the first football game of the pre-season.
The group was escorted right to the sidelines for the best view of the match between the Calgary Stampeders and the B.C. Lions!
The dads at the House are a diverse bunch, but they have this in common: their homes are 45 km or more from the Alberta Children’s Hospital where each of them has a child in treatment. Another thing in common between them is this: a carefree evening of sports and swag is a rare treat.
When a child needs to travel for medical treatment, parents have tough questions to sort out. Sometimes the entire family checks in to Ronald McDonald House, staying together during a child’s treatment. But in other cases, dads hold down the fort at home, travelling into Calgary when their job schedule allows.
The average stay for a family in the Calgary Ronald McDonald House is 50 nights. For the dads who manage the homefront during this difficult time, plowing through an everyday routine is a tall order.
Ronald McDonald Houses help family members meet everyday physical needs, such as a good night’s sleep and access to a kitchen for regular meals. On an emotional level, support services in the House help family members feel less isolated.
That was the goal of ‘Dad’s Night Out’: to give these overlooked heroes a night of comradery and VIP treatment.
Game night was a blustery affair. The weather system that rolled in just before the game included wind, rain and hail.
But the football game didn’t disappoint the 28,000-strong crowd that filled the McMahon Stadium that night.
The Stampeders finished ahead of the Lions, with a final score of Calgary- 20, B.C. – 6. Even the dads in the group from Saskatchewan – Rider Nation – donned the Stampeders swag to cheer for the home team that night!