The Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta unveiled three new family suites on Tuesday, making room to house and support families who have to travel to Calgary to receive medical treatment for their children.
“That’s a 17 per cent increase in our overnight capacity and we just do things one family at a time,” said Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta CEO Jason Evanson.
With Ronald McDonald Houses in Edmonton and Red Deer, there are three locations in the province.
Evanson said between them, they provide services for up to 450 families in any given year with each family staying an average of 26 nights last year.
“There are so many families that need the support of Ronald McDonald House,” said Evanson.
“We’ve done a study using Alberta Health’s data and we know upwards of 130 families could use our services every single day. So at 27 suites, there is a shortfall in services but you can imagine how excited we are to be serving three more families every single night.”
The announcement also created excitement for current residents at the house.
“It’s so great that three more families can always come in here and share what we have here,” said Jamelle Bloomer. She and her family from Sylvan Lake have been staying at the house since April 2018 as her son Nicolas undergoes treatment for leukemia.
Bloomer said the house has provided her family with a sense of belonging and has given them the support they need to focus on Nicolas’ battle.
“It just takes so much of the stress and weight off your shoulders just to have a place and know that you’re taken care of… You don’t have to worry about all of the small things of the day-to-day, outside hospital, outside treatment life,” she said.
Bloomer said she has made many friends at the house who have provided support and an understanding ear.
“We could not live without it, it’s just cut and dry,” said Bloomer. “We need it and so many other families need it as well.”