When Zack was born and we were aware of his urgent medical needs, we spent the night at our local hospital begging for a room in Toronto- our other options were London, Hamilton or Montreal! Thank goodness we never had to worry about uprooting our family to care for our little fighter. I can’t imagine how this must make an already horrible situation even more heartbreaking for the entire family.
I was fortunate to meet the amazing mommy of one of Zack’s first roommates, Ben. She was from Guelph and had to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto while Ben received several operations for his heart defects. He was hospitalized for much of his first year and Michelle left her home and her husband to stay close to Ben in Toronto. She stayed by Ben’s side from morning to night and we would sit our rocking chairs together and talk while our boys slept. When she needed a little break, she’d walk back her small but comfortable room at RMH down the street and have a shower or rest. The nurses would page her when Ben woke up, so that his Mommy was always there when he opened his eyes. I remember talking to her about the difficulties of leaving home, her job and family and how appreciative she was to have been accepted into the RMH. She also felt less isolated by being surrounded by other parents who were going through exactly the same thing. She made friendships during that time. Over the last several years, the new facility has evolved to a really beautiful building that offers respite and privacy during a crazy and scary time in a parent’s life.
McDonald’s supports families by always offering a portion of Happy Meal® sales to the Ronald McDonald House, but on May 2nd, more than 1,430 McDonald’s restaurants in Canada will donate $1 from every Big Mac® sandwich, Happy Meal®, Premium Roast Coffee and Premium Tea sold to local charities like Ronald McDonald House. McHappy Day® is now celebrated worldwide! The goal is to beat last year’s $3.4million!