It doesn’t take long to find a family that has been impacted by Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta (RMH). The Hockey Alberta family is no different.
RMH supports families seeking vital medical treatment for their seriously sick or injured child. During some of the most difficult times a family can face, the Houses are there to support with a home-away-from-home.
Grow the Game Coordinator, Cassie Campbell, had family stay in RMH while she was going through a complicated labour and delivery with her second child.
“RMH was an amazing second home for my family,” said Cassie Campbell, Hockey Alberta’s Grow the Game Coordinator. “It meant I could focus on taking care of myself and the baby and not worry about my husband, knowing that he could rest and refuel to be there in a moment’s notice. We are both so grateful for the staff and volunteers at RMH. Our time there was short but the impact of their support is unforgettable.”
RMH is equipped with private family suites, a recreation room with a fitness area and games room and open kitchens.
For some families, their stay can last a few nights, while for others, it can last a few months. Situated close to the hospital, the Houses save families millions of dollars on transportation, meals, laundry, parking and more, each year.
Hockey Alberta’s Member Services Coordinator, Stacey Pattison, grew up hours away from a children’s hospital. So when she was diagnosed with meningococcemia septicemia as at nine years-old, to have her family near meant the world.
“Being from a small town, the local hospital didn’t have the resources, so I was transported to a hospital over an hour away from home,” said Pattison. “I’m very foturnate that my mom was able to stay with me the whole time. She used the RMH and was able to be with me the whole time, she could make medical decisions and never missed a doctors drop-in while I was in the hospital.”
Knowing the severity of the illness now, Pattison is thankful to the RMH for allowing her family to be there and help focus on getting her healthy.
“Now as a parent, I understand how families will always make it work to be there for their children, and the opportunity provided by RMH to assist families to reduce the stress in providing accommodations,” said Pattison. “Home cooked meals provides more than that, it allows parents to be 100 per cent available for their children who so desperately need their parents full care and attention to focus on healing.”
After spending their day at the hospital, the last thing families want to do is cook. That’s why the Hockey Alberta staff have committed to the “Home for Dinner” volunteer program offered by RMH.
Home for Dinner is a program that allows volunteer groups to purchase groceries and come into the house to provide dinner for families.
“Most of the Hockey Alberta staff live in Central Alberta, and I feel it is important to give back to the communities where we live,” said Darcy Smith, Hockey Alberta’s Member Development Coordinator. “The heart of our organization is kids, if we can make some of the tough days easier for these families and by cooking homemade meals, then hopefully we have brighten someone’s day just a little.”
Often, those who are utilizing RMH, are part of the hockey family, and for some members of the staff, the initiative hits close to home.
During National Volunteer Week, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge the volunteers that make hockey great across Alberta. However the hockey community is full of volunteers who make an impact bigger than the game. For the Hockey Alberta staff, volunteering at the RMH is just one way we can support those who support us.
To volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta, click here.