Carter Barrett is only six yearls old so he really doesn’t understand the importance of the Ronald McDonald House, but his parents certainly do.
Carter was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and as a baby, requiring numerous surgeries at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.
Fortunately for Carter’s parents, Braylee and Ryan, the family lived relatively close to the hospital and had family to lean on during that difficult time.
Not all familiess with sick kids are as lucky though.
“When you drive into the parking lot at Children’s you see license plates from other provinces and hear stories from people travelling afar,” Braylee.
“It’s important you know that those families have a place to stay and that they have a place to call home while they are going through such a traumatic experience, you know, having a child in the hospital,” added Ryan.
That is exactly what each of the three — soon to be four — Ronald McDonald Houses in Alberta provide: a home away from home for families whose children are in hospital.
Each year the Hustle for the House run and walk event raises money for the Ronald McDonald House charities (RMHC). Ryan has run it in past years but this year, Carter decided to join
“We couldn’t be more proud of Carter, our son, and you know grateful for everyone who’s participated and fundraised for us,” said Ryan.
“We just thought it would just be a fun family event and low and behold it blew up and we actually raised over $5,000,” said Braylee, adding their goal had been to raise $1,000.
With two full days still remaining in the week-long event, Carter was still atop of the leader board, having raised more money than any other individual in any of the other
122 communities from across the province. participating this year
Surpassing expectations appears to be the theme of this year event.
“It’s been amazing,” said RMHC marketing and communications manager Julie List.
“We initially set $60,000 as our goal for peer-to-peer fundraising for the run and then we re-set it to $80,000 and then we re-set it to $100,000.”
As of Friday, the event, which is being held virtually for the first time ever, had raised over $130,000.
“We had no idea what to expect when… you think you’re still going to put on a run and then how’s it going to work and are people going to know about it,” said RMHC Alberta board member Cassie Campbell-Pascall.
“I think it’s exceeded everyone’s expectations to the point that I think we might be doing this every year.”