Do you know what today is? If you didn't read the title of today's blog or you haven't heard in the news as of yet, it's McHappy Day!! This day is especially important to my family, as we have three children that led us to the amazing services of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada.
Our first introduction to the Ronald McDonald House service was when our firstborn came early at 31 weeks and was taken about an hour away to a children's hospital P.C.C.U. We were able to have access to the RMH for the 5 days that this hospital became our home base. At the time, in 2008, the RMH was putting people up in hotels when the actual house was at capacity. We were able to stay in a beautiful hotel and it gave us some real quiet, personal time, while away from the hospital. We were moved closer to home only 5 days after our first son was born, which was an amazing feat!
Our second experience came when the twins showed their teeny, tiny faces at 27 weeks. This time, one baby had major complications two days after birth and the Ronald McDonald House was available to us immediately because of the severity of his illness(es) and his brother's, as well as the fact we were again far from home. Different hospital and different RMH this time. The first week after the babies were born was spent driving back and forth, back and forth from hospital to home. We weren't in the state of mind yet to be leaving the house and staying away from home because we were completely unprepared for their arrival, the house was having renos, we had a nearly 2-year-old and so on. Things quickly went from bad to worse for Baby B and we then decided about 1 week after their arrival that we needed to take up Ronald McDonald House on their invitation to use their home.
This particular home is beautiful! It was laid out so well. It had a warm, brightly lit front lobby and reception area. It had warm, friendly and inviting staff and volunteers! The rooms were beautifully and tastefully decorated. Each room was decorated in a different way and was sponsored by previous families or businesses. We had the luck of receiving an apartment style room, which gave us lots of room to spread out and feel comfortable. It also had a walk-in closet larger than all of the bedroom closets combined in my own home!! This was a nice perk!
We went on to spend over 100 days in this house (I lost count.) By mid-July our oldest son, who was just 2, was referring to it as "home." To hear this out of my little boy's mouth was on the sad side, however, it was positive that he felt comfortable and happy enough in this temporary home that he felt it was a place he could call "home."
I still had to do lots and lots of driving back and forth from the hospital to home and it was exhausting, but the Ronald McDonald House helped us all through it.
The Ronald McDonald House became Twin A's first home outside of the hospital after he was discharged. He lived at the House for 3 weeks until his "younger" brother, Twin B, was able to be discharged to officially go home.
I have met several families since leaving the RMH and hospital, that have also used the Ronald McDonald House in the city their child or children stayed in hospital. Ask around and you might be surprised how many people you know who have used the service or know someone who has.
The Ronald McDonald House is definitely a "home away from home" and it is a place past residents feel welcome to visit and return with updates as time goes by.
I hope today you will keep this amazing service in mind and stop by your local McDonald's who will be fundraising to help "keep the lights on" at local Ronald McDonald Houses and local children's charities. My hubby and I will be participating with meeting and greeting, flipping and serving or whatever the restaurant needs us to do!
Follow the links for more on the Ronald McDonald House, including a video interview of my husband and I at the Ronald McDonald House.
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