When your children go through a serious illness, even years after they have been home and well, there are some things you won’t forget. It may have been almost 9 years ago that Rick Bernard called Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwestern Ontario his home-away-from-home, but the support his family received continues to inspire him today to share his story and give back.
Max and Joe surprised their parents when they were born 6 weeks early, on March 25th, 2008. Both boys weighed over 5 pounds but would need to stay at London Children’s Hospital before being able to go home. Rick and his former wife were living over an hour away in Blenheim, ON and were able to stay in one of Ronald McDonald House London’s 17 bedrooms. Being able to stay close became even more important to the family, as Max began to progress in the NICU but Joe experienced more serious difficulties. Suffering from a diaphragmatic hernia, Joe had his first surgery at just 3 days old and spent 6 weeks recovering in hospital.
Rick remembers the House back then – before its renovation in 2011 adding an additional 17 bedrooms. He recalls, “There used to be a kitchen on each floor, and an office right over there”, pointing to a space by the front door as he sits in the dining room planning his upcoming fundraiser, “ It’s nice to see there have been even more spaces added to the House for families”. However, when he is asked about one of the most memorable parts of staying at RMH all those years ago, the homemade meals continue to be a favorite.
Rick has found a way to #MakeFunMatter by turning something he loves to do into something that will honour his boys and say thank you to RMH.
I want to complete a fundraising bike ride from my home in Wallaceburg, ON to the RMH London, to raise funds to assist with the costs that are incurred from running this amazing place.
Rick's Ride for Hope will begin in Wallaceburg in September 2017, but Rick has already started collecting support online to help reach his goal of $5,000 to help keep families close. “ The Ronald McDonald House is without a doubt a blessing to the families who come in contact with them…I hope that you can find some place to help in my venture to help them.”
Today, both boys are happy, healthy, active 9 year olds. They have been to the House with donations and are well aware of how much the House helped them and their parents. They are excited about their dad's upcoming ride; the boys will start off in Wallaceburg on their bikes, and they will all finish the ride into the parking lot together.
You can visit Rick’s Make Fun Matter online giving page to show him some support and encouragment while he rides over 118 KM to help raise awareness and funds for his home-away-from-home!
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