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A Personal Experience Then, Brought Us To Volunteer Today

A Personal Experience Then, Brought Us To Volunteer Today

When children are ill, families need to stay close.  This is something volunteers Rob and Diane know all too much about from a personal experience with their daughter and grandchild. This is their story...
 
The call we had so excitedly anticipated finally came. “Mom, I had the baby, but there's something wrong with his heart. We’re being flown to the hospital in Vancouver. Can’t talk, I’ll call you later.” All we could do was wait and worry. At five days old our grandson underwent eight hours of open-heart surgery. After the operation, he was named “Calder”. (Hockey fans will recognize the reference to our own “Rookie of the Year”.)
 Our daughter, Allie, had left the hospital in Prince George, BC ten hours after giving birth with nothing but hospital staff, a newborn who could not breathe on his own, and a worry of the unknown. She arrived in Vancouver without a place to stay, a change of clothes or even a pair of socks.
For the first two weeks of post-surgery recuperation, Allie and Calder were guests at the Ronald McDonald House. The House motto is: Keeping Families Close, but our family wasn’t close enough. Calder’s father needed to return home to care for his older children and return to work. Extended family, including us, lived half a country away. For Allie and Calder, the Ronald McDonald House staff and volunteers were the caring family she needed. Because of the care they were receiving at RMH we knew we could wait to support them.
Our daughter was one of the thousands of guests each year who receive a clean room at an affordable rate near their hospitalized children. She especially appreciated the home-cooked meals, a handmade quilt, the loan of a stroller, as well as friendly volunteer and staff support. 
When Calder was two we both retired from full-time work. In appreciation of the support given to our family, Rob and I decided to “give back” to the House by volunteering at our local Ronald McDonald House in London. Surprisingly, we find it impossible to “give back” because each day we volunteer, we leave our shifts at the House in a better frame of mind than when we arrived. We see our daughter in each of the families we see at the House. We look forward to our days with the encouraging staff and friendly fellow-volunteers. 
Rob and Diane, husband and wife volunteers at Ronald McDonald House
 
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