Curling cash to help raise McDonald House

Organizers are hoping that Red Deerians are ready to “Hurray Hard” during the newest fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta.

Organizers are hoping that Red Deerians are ready to “Hurray Hard” during the newest fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta.

The Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel, presented by Fas Gas Plus, was announced on Thursday at the Red Deer Curling Centre.

Olympic cold medal curlers Kevin Martin and Marc Kennedy will be at the event, set to take place on Jan. 7 to 9 at the Red Deer Curling Centre. Early bird registration goes until Nov. 5 at a cost of $650 per team, with it costing $800 after that. Divisions will include a beginner, an intermediate and a seasoned level.

Organizers hope to raise $100,000 after expenses are paid, which will go to operating expenses for Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House.

Ronald McDonald House executive director Larry Mathieson said they don’t have a final operating budget for the house for the first year yet, but it looks like it will cost $1 million to run the house in Red Deer. Families will be charged just $12 a night to stay there but no family would be turned away if they couldn’t afford that amount, so much of the fundraising goes to making families stays more affordable.

Mathieson said they have raised $10.8 million of the $12 million needed to cover building the facility, its furniture within the first year of operating expenses.

Construction is underway at the house site on the southeast corner of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, at the corner of 39th Street and 51st Avenue. Workers are putting up cribbing and concrete as they build temporary and permanent retaining walls to build up a platform for the house. Mathieson said the challenge with the site is that it slopes in two different directions, but it is ideal because it is close to the hospital and it is large enough to build an ideal facility.

He said the construction team hopes to get the frame up and the roof up before winter, with the house expected to open in June 2011.

Around 400 families a year are expected to stay in the 11-suite Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer. The building will give families whose children are being treated for serious illnesses at Red Deer hospital a place to stay. It will be the first new Ronald McDonald House built in Canada in the past 25 years.

More information on the bonspiel or the fundraising campaign is available at: www.rmhcentralalberta.org

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com