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