I can still remember the first time I learned what Ronald McDonald House was.
When I was a little dude I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). ITP is a type of blood disorder where your platelet count is very low. Platelets are critical for clotting. What this meant for me was that it took a lot longer for a cut to stop bleeding and it also meant that I bruised easily.
Because of my ITP I spent a lot of time paying visits to the hospital for regular check-ups and blood tests. My Mom and I used to go for walks around the hospotal to fill time between blood tests and blood results. That's when I asked about the 'house' next to the Hospital that said 'McDonald's.' I asked my Mom if we could get a Happy Meal while we waited and I remember she smiled and told me that that was Ronald McDonald House. "Does Ronald live there?" I asked. She told me that it was a house where parents could stay while their kids were in the hospital. We went closer and I could see families inside playing and cooking just like a real house. I thought it was pretty cool and asked if we could stay there thinking that maybe I'd get to eat McDonald's for every meal and drink my favourite orange drink. We lived in town so it was not to be.
No family expects sickness to strike - especially to a child. But when it does, it's comforting to know that there's a place and people who are ready to welcome you with open arms. Luckily, my condition went into remission a few years after I was diagnosed and because I lived in town my family never used Ronald McDonald House. But through our regular hospital visits we got to meet and interact with the parents and children who relied on it to keep their family together.
Living in a big city like Vancouver we take it for granted that the care we need is often just a short car ride away. But for some families that's not the case. And that's why Ronald McDonald House is so important.
Kids derserve a chance to be kids - and you can help. I hope you'll join me in helping to spread the word about GIFT A MOMENT. To learn more and/or donate click HERE or watch the video below and consider sharing it on Facebook.