When your child is in distress, even the smallest details become hugely important.
From the emotional and medical nuances to the daily chores of life, everything takes on an added weight. The amount of comfort a simple home-cooked meal and good night’s sleep can provide is hard to describe – but you can put a price on it. $140. That’s how much it costs to host a family for one night at the Ronald McDonald House.
The Ronald McDonald House for the Maritimes is located in Halifax, near the IWK. It is used by hundreds of New Brunswick families each year, travelling with children for treatment. The house allows families to stay together, often for extended periods of time.
Ashley Barnaby knows the home well. In 2014, the Moncton woman gave birth to Zaccari, a mighty little warrior man who arrived seven weeks early and was soon diagnosed with serious kidney and other complications. In 2016, the family learned Zaccari would need treatment at the IWK.
“Ronald McDonald House was there to help, giving us a place to call home so that Zaccari could receive his life supporting dialysis,” says Ashley. “They helped our family through one of our most stressful life events.”
The family stayed from the summer of 2016 until the winter of 2018, when Zaccari received a kidney transplant.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic also operates a room within The Moncton Hospital, offering home-cooked meals, showers, and a sense of home to families like the Peacocks.
Kelly and Jason spent nearly seven weeks visiting their twin boys in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NNICU). “My first ‘real’ shower post-delivery was in The Ronald McDonald Room,” recalls Kelly. “I think that was the first moment I actually took a good deep breath and relaxed a little bit.”
“It was always nice to be able to get away from the NNICU and have a hot meal, whether it be made that day or leftovers from the day before. Not having the burden of additional food costs, during that time, helped tremendously.”
MC LeBlanc also relied on the room while her three boys were in the NNICU.
“The Ronald McDonald Room was my home away from home,” she shares. “I got hot showers, comfy couches, adult conversations, AMAZING home-made meals, internet access, and a different view even if just for a little while. It gave me a break from the beeps and smells of the hospital where I spent so many long hours.”
Gena Franco Lavigne sums it up perfectly. “The Ronald McDonald room was the calm to my chaos.”
Families often reach out to Pickle Planet, asking for ideas on ways to give back to the community that are age-appropriate. This walk is certainly a great choice! You can also contact the local Ronald McDonald Room to volunteer to cook a meal or purchase supplies. Many families who have relied on the room return to celebrate milestones like discharge days and birthdays by helping out!
The 2nd annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic PJ Walk for Kids takes place Sunday, June 10, 2018 at Centennial Park. This rain-or-shine event includes a Pancake Breakfast (hosted by the Riverview Lions Club) and lots of fun for the whole family. You’re encouraged to attend in your PJs, a nod to the many families who spend their nights at the house.
There are also PJ Walks happening on June 10 in Halifax, Charlottetown, and Saint John. Last year’s first walk raised $189,000 – and was a fantastic morning of family fun and philanthropy. As a mother who ate those volunteer-cooked meals, read books on the couch with big sister, and relied on the Ronald McDonald Room for comfort – thank you for reading and for donating what you can to the PJ Walk for Kids.