Nicky and Mike Martel and their four children frequently used the day program at Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer for about a month in 2017 while their youngest son Ben was in the intensive care unit at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (Photo contributed)

Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer provides needed day program

Popularity of day pass program continues to grow

Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer is making life easier for many parents who just need a quick nap, a shower or a meal while their children are in hospital.

A spokesperson for the charity said statistics are not yet available for 2019, but based on monthly updates, the number of day passes used last year will far exceed the 1,052 day passes in 2018.

In 2016, a room was set aside at the house for families who require a break, but don’t need to stay overnight.

The number of passes used has climbed each year. In 2017, a total of 916 passes were used.

Nicky Martel, whose newborn son Ben was in the neonatal intensive care unit for about a month in 2017, said the day pass program gave her a place to rest near Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre so she didn’t have to rush back and forth.

“My whole family was welcomed through those doors at any time. I can’t say enough about what the house did for me,” said Martel, of Red Deer.

She said at first, she didn’t want to use the house because she didn’t want people feeling sorry for her. But it turned out to be everything she needed.

“You become part of a family. It was unbelievable. There was always someone there to give you a hug to make you feel better, or just to talk if you wanted to. There was always food there, and good food.”

She said the house was the place where her three other children could regularly spend time with her, and 14 of her family members gathered to celebrate Easter.

Related:

More Red Deer families are spending the day at Ronald McDonald House

Red Deer families get dedicated room at Ronald McDonald House

Community backing key to Ronald McDonald House project’s success

She called the house her “home away from home” and she still visits staff and families.

“When I go in there, I shed a tear.”

Martel, who has spoken at Ronald McDonald House events about how the house helped her family, said the day pass program, the volunteers and the community support for the house are amazing.

“I will say that hands down, Red Deer has it figured out.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again; ‘He is who he is’

WASHINGTON — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald… Continue reading

Senators may have to rein in activism in minority Parliament: new govt rep

OTTAWA — Independent senators may have to curb their enthusiasm for amending… Continue reading

Alberta woman charged with child abduction pleads guilty to lesser charge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A woman in southern Alberta who was charged with… Continue reading

‘A little love can go a long way,’ says a Red Deer opioid user who supports overdose prevention

The OPS means higher survival rates and less needle debris, he adds

Firefighters tackle blaze in Royal Canadian Legion building

Firefighters got call of light smoke about 4:25 p.m.

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Pearman: Bohemian Waxwings the consummate nomads

It is always a treat when a winter flock of Bohemian waxwings… Continue reading

Shots from stands, women’s 3-on-3 highlight NHL skills event

ST. LOUIS — Shooting pucks from the stands and some of the… Continue reading

Canada beats U.S. in 3-on-3 women’s game at NHL all-star skills competition

ST. LOUIS — Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston scored to give Canada… Continue reading

Lowry, Siakam lead Raptors past Knicks for 6th straight win

Raptors 118 Knicks 112 NEW YORK — Kyle Lowry scored 26 points,… Continue reading

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again; ‘He is who he is’

WASHINGTON — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald… Continue reading

Senators may have to rein in activism in minority Parliament: new govt rep

OTTAWA — Independent senators may have to curb their enthusiasm for amending… Continue reading

Alberta woman charged with child abduction pleads guilty to lesser charge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A woman in southern Alberta who was charged with… Continue reading

Most Read