Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House rooms re­ceive up­grade

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Lisa JOHN­SON @re­por­trix li­john­[email protected]

At an emo­tional rib­bon-cut­ting cel­e­bra­tion at Ed­mon­ton’s Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House, a woman who stayed at the house 34 years ago with her fam­ily of­fi­cially opened two new spe­cial rooms for new ba­bies and their moth­ers Fri­day.

“We all wish as par­ents that we didn’t have to stay here, and that no­body had dis­eases or ill­nesses,” said Mar­i­lyn Clous­ton, who stayed for 21 months while her son Bradlee un­der­went treat­ment for can­cer. Today, Bradlee is a healthy 37-year-old, and Clous­ton said she was happy and thank­ful to paint and re­fur­bish the rooms, giv­ing some­thing back to the place that was so im­por­tant in her life.

“This was our home, this was our safe place. It’s a con­nec­tion that you never lose.”

Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House in Ed­mon­ton has been a place fam­i­lies with crit­i­cally ill or in­jured chil­dren seek­ing med­i­cal treat­ment in the city to stay since it opened in 1985.

Around the world, more than 40 per cent of fam­i­lies stay­ing at a Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House are there be­cause they have a child or chil­dren in the neo-na­tal in­ten­sive care unit, said Suzanne Prescod, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House Char­i­ties Al­berta.

Neo-na­tal unit treat­ment is also one of the top three rea­sons why fam­i­lies stay at Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House in Ed­mon­ton.

But the rooms that were set aside for new moth­ers at the house were like of­fices, with just a fridge and a chair, said Clous­ton, who also wel­comed a new baby while she stayed in the home in 1986.

“We said, 'They need some­thing bet­ter than this.' They mean a lot to me. We stayed in those rooms.”

So Clous­ton and the folks at Buy Buy Baby fixed up the rooms to cre­ate a more com­fort­able space with a rock­ing chair, foot­stool, stuffed an­i­mals, and a small play area.

The rooms, which cost ap­prox­i­mately $6,000 in labour and sup­plies to re­fur­bish, pro­vide a space for moth­ers to nurse, use their breast pumps, un­wind, or re­lax in a calm en­vi­ron­ment with­out dis­turb­ing the rest of the fam­ily.

“It’s a pas­sion pro­ject for all of us,” said Brit­tany Kunst, as­sis­tant store man­ager of spe­cial projects at Buy Buy Baby.

Postmedia Ed KAISER/

Mar­i­lyn Clous­ton sits one of two re­fur­bished mother’s rooms which she helped to dec­o­rate at Ed­mon­ton’s Ron­ald Mc­don­ald House on Fri­day.

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