Groundbreaking set for Wednesday

The Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta’s groundbreaking event will have some special visitors.

The Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta’s groundbreaking event will have some special visitors.

Olympic bronze medallist Mellisa Hollingsworth, Culture and Community Spirit Minister Lindsay Blackett, a Central Albertan family who has used one of the Ronald McDonald houses in the past and some of the major donors will attend the event.

Fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta are doing their final tallies leading up to the groundbreaking set for Wednesday.

Campaign chair Lyn Radford said they have to make just a little more money to reach their goal of raising 80 per cent — equal to $8 million — to move forward with the groundbreaking. But Radford expects they will be able to reach that amount, with community members hosting events and giving personal donations to raise money for the special project.

“We hope that the corporations will come aboard also, but what we’re finding is the huge response we’re getting from community members and that is just amazing. It is such a good feeling,” Radford said. “When you get that type of response, it tells you what your community wants. It tells you that they understand and they get it.”

The groundbreaking is an invite-only event, with organizers asking people to park their vehicles in the parking lot at 51B Avenue and 43rd Street, kitty-corner to Millerdale Pharmacy, and they will be shuttled over to the site to ensure that streets around the hospital aren’t congested.

Radford said nobody would want to be in a situation where one of their children was sick, but if a situation like that occurred they would want to have the opportunity to have accommodation close to the hospital, where they could get support from other parents who understand what they are going through.

“It is like a healing centre because not all stories have a happy ending. This is a centre where parents can sit down with other parents and know what they’re feeling and what they are going through,” Radford said. “If you were in that situation, think of what kind of service you would like to have for you.”

Fundraisers hope to have all of the $12-million needed to build Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta in place by the end of the year, with a little under half of the additional $4 million going to construction and the rest going towards programming, start up and operating costs.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fundraising initiative can contact Leslee Burton at 403-340-2007 or at