When Nevaeh Cree Thacker was born premature, Anna-Marie Marten, of Lacombe, and her family checked into Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta where they stayed for three weeks.
Ten years ago, Anna-Marie’s son, Kaide was born premature in Edmonton and she suffered from postpartum depression because she couldn’t stay nearby and spend more time with him. “When you have a preemie and they’re in NICU,and you don’t get to see them all the time, you almost feel like you’ve lost your baby. But I didn’t this time. I got to walk over anytime I wanted. That made having a preemie so much easier. You don’t feel like you’ve abandoned your baby,” said Anna-Marie.
Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House felt like home, she said. “None of us wanted to leave. I never knew how special that place was until we went there. I don’t think people understand.”
The family stayed at the House on a few occasions. The second time was a couple of months later when Nevaeh caught a respiratory infection; the family returned to the House for two weeks. The third time was a quick overnight stay to avoid poor driving conditions and ensuring they arrived on time for their early morning appointment at the hospital. “Life would have been awful if it wasn’t for this House,” said Anna-Marie.