– Charles Dickens
One of the best things about working for Ronald McDonald House is the opportunity to talk to lots of people. And as different as people are – with diverse backgrounds and stories – we always here the same thing “I want to give back, but I’m not sure how.”
We could offer you our own ideas about how to best give back or we could share ideas from those who know the impact of the House better than anyone. Here are how three of our past Ronald McDonald House families have given back:
The Rowley Family
Levi became very ill shortly after he was born and needed to stay in the pediatric unit in the Red Deer Hospital. Parents Shane and Kaylee stayed at Ronald McDonald House to be as close as possible during his treatment.
“It was such a scary time for us but staying at the House made it so much more manageable for us. The welcome bag brought us to tears and we treasure it to this day.”
Levi is now a healthy, happy 10-month old baby. Kaylee, who is a teacher, decided to host an Usborne book party and donate her commission to the House. She invited friends and family to the party and shared with them how she plans to donate to the House. This inspired many attendees, including past Ronald McDonald House families like the Tam and the Jerome families, to purchase books and even to donate some back to the House. With the $1,100 she raised Kaylee decided to donate a big box of beautiful baby books to be included in the welcome bags she loved so much as a mom in the House.
The Atkinson-Perry Family
The Atkinson-Perry family found meaning in their heartbreak by giving back in honour of their daughter, Heaven Pearl. Desirae gave birth to twin girls nine weeks earlier than expected in the Red Deer Hospital in 2013. One of the twins, Heaven, was born sleeping.
“Malia (Heaven’s twin sister) spent 41 days in the NICU at the Red Deer Hospital, while I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. These two places were very comforting during this extremely hard time in our lives, ” shares Desirae.
The family decided to honour Heaven by giving back and involving the community that Heaven would’ve been a part of. They organized a slo-pitch charity tournament called For Heaven’s Sake. The family, who make up “Team Heaven’s Heroes”, has raised money for the NICU, Ronald McDonald House, and other local charities since their first tournament in 2014.
The Leeson Family
Kyle and Randi Leeson stayed at Ronald McDonald House twice when both their children were born prematurely a couple of years apart. Staying at the House meant the couple didn’t have to drive 160 km round-trip from home to feed and hold the children.
“I had no idea how we were going to manage driving back and forth. I remember thinking I could ask my parents for a loan and get a hotel room or maybe it would be cheaper to rent a suite for the month,” says Kyle.
When they learned they could stay at Ronald McDonald House and stepped inside Randi and Kyle were overwhelmed by the House and what it offered families.
“The best way to explain it is a cross between staying in a five-star hotel and going to grandma’s house. I can’t explain how much we appreciated having a warm meal every night and the privacy of our own room.”
The Leesons are giving back to the House in a couple of different ways. Randi donates a portion of sales from her hand-made BRAVE hats on her online store. Her and Kyle, along with their parents, have also all become monthly donors. Monthly donations are an extremely important source of revenue for the House. The families that stay with us rely on them and guess what? They’ve never been easier to do! Find out more here.
So now that you’ve been inspired by these families’ stories, how will you give back?