Lakeland Volunteers visit Ronald McDonald House

On Saturday, April 16th, a group of 16 local volunteers, donors, and sponsors traveled to the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton to get a firsthand look at the facility. The house gives families the opportunity to stay close to their children, while their children are undergoing major treatments at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Lakeland Region Manager of Development, Oreen Skiba hosted the tour which gave visitors a chance to see the programs and offered to the families.

Visitors soon realized the Ronald McDonald home was something exceptional. There are 32 Family Suites, three commercial kitchens, playrooms, exercise room, theatre room.  All children, sick or sibling, are able to continue their education despite being away from their regular school. An in-house teacher facilitates their continued education through a variety of channels.

I support RMHCNA because providing a home environment for families of sick children is so important.  It allows them to focus on their child’s heath while knowing they have a warm, inviting place to stay.

There are great recreation programs available to the families that stay in the house; including, activities, games, outings, and events are an ongoing part of life for families at RMHCNA. This provides moments of normalcy and fun for families in crisis. On average, a family will stay 14 days at the RMHCNA.

I was in total awe of how many programs RMHCNA offers and how many lives they touch.  And that they are always looking for more ways to impact families.

There are some cases where families cannot stay in the house, due to waiting list. Those families are still offered the same great programming from 7am to 9pm daily.  Staying a the home or at the sponsor hotels allows families to better heal and adjust to their medical circumstances. This program reduces emotional and financial stress for families, making over 10,000 trips to the hospital annually

Despite the massiveness of the house, totally felt like a HOME.

In 2015, the Lakeland Region raised over $109,000 to maintain operating the house and the programs that serve families.  Three inaugural fundraising events took place: Run for Ronald, Lakeland Golf Classic and the Rock the House Curling Funspiel.  The Connect Back program was launched, providing an opportunity to connect with families when they return to the community and for families to connect with each other at the second annual Meals that Mend: Lakeland Edition

Watching the children wander around like it’s their own home and interact with their families in a normal way was very impactful.  The quilt room brought me to tears because we all have that special blanket that we still have and cherish

Overall more than 100 local families have utilized the house, in 2015 this number grew by 25 families staying the equivalent of 769 days. RMHCNA helped families save over $210,000 in food and hotel costs

May 7th Run for RMHCNA, a 5km, 10km and half marathon fun run/walk. Register online at

June 18th RMHCNA Lakeland Golf Classic at the Cold Lake Golf & Winter Club. Register online at

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