Hello, I’m here to talk to you today about how the Ronald McDonald House has had an effect on our family. In 2006 my brother Jonas was unexpectedly sent to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto to correct a previously undetected heart defect. I was three and a half years old with my mom, dad and grandparents and we were in a city four hours away from home, with only the clothes on our back, not knowing what to do or where to stay. With all of the stress and worry about my brother, this is when the Ronald McDonald House was there for us for the first time. A place to sleep and a hot shower, a warm meal to eat, free access to a phone, a computer, everything my parents needed just a few blocks from the hospital. We were incredibly grateful for the 11 days we spent there.
Our journey with the Ronald McDonald House did not end in 2006. In 2014, I fell seriously ill with ulcerative colitis and ended up in and out of hospital in Windsor and London, eventually requiring emergency surgery. Our family again had to go through all of this stress and uncertainty, and the Ronald McDonald House in London was there for us one more time. With the house just 165 steps from the hospital and the Ronald McDonald room just around the corner from my hospital bed, my parents could still feel at home but be right by my side for 39 days and nights. Having my parents and grandparents able to be by my side made me feel a lot better because it was very scary to go through. My friend from school was also staying at the house and we got to play chess together. My brother was now the sibling like I was when he was sick and the house gave him a place to play and keep himself busy.
My Dad would go to the house and have dinner, and bring my mom something back to eat if she didn’t want to leave my side. Hot Coffee, baked goods, books to read, laundry facilities, they had it all for us. My Dad even got to watch Canada win the Olympic hockey gold medal from the comfort of the big screen theatre room! All of the staff and volunteers were amazing and I feel they truly helped in my recovery.
Today we are here to start a new chapter, the opening of the Ronald McDonald House within a hospital. My family is happy to know that the comfort, caring and stress relieving home is right here in our hospital and that all of the families going through what we went through will benefit from what we had too. We are forever grateful for what they have done for all of the families affected by childhood illness.
Thank you for letting me share our story and enjoy the house. Congratulations Windsor!
Sign up for our e-newsletter to read inspiring stories from our families, keep up to date with Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario news and stay in touch with your fellow RMH friends and supporters.