Rae-anne Fraser, a brand manager with Red Deer McDonald’s restaurants, buys an ice cream cone from Haylen Astalos, right, and his friend Rowan Horjus at the north-side McDonald’s restaurant Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Seven-year-old Red Deer boy slings ice cream to support the Central Alberta Ronald McDonald House

On a day when McDonald’s makes a big donation to Ronald McDonald House, a seven-year-old stole the show in Red Deer with his ice cream shop.

Haylen Astalos’ booth, a small white and blue-trimmed stand about four feet tall, has been dragged around Central Alberta as he sells ice cream. The profits, he donates to the Central Alberta Ronald McDonald House.

“I want to help kids,” Haylen said from behind his booth at the front entrance to the McDonald’s at 7149 50th Ave. in north Red Deer.

For his fifth birthday, he had a “five-for-five” birthday where guests were asked to bring two $5 bills to the party instead of gifts. One bill was for Haylen, the other was to donate to a charity of his choice.

He chose Ronald McDonald House. He visited the one located near the Red Deer Regional Hospital and was given a tour. He saw families staying there while their sick children were in hospital.

Then he asked his parents to build him an ice cream stand. That’s when he became a regular donor to the charity.

In just two-and-a-half years, Haylen has raised more than $14,000 for the local charity. He has sold ice cream at different businesses grand openings, at the Freeze the House charity bonspiel and at McHappy Day.

All along the way, Haylen has set fundraising goals for himself. His first goal was $2,011 and he reached that within the first month. From there the goals grew to $3,009, $5013 (the 13 in honour of Calgary Flames’ forward Johnny Gaudreau) and then $7,018 (the 18 in honours of Flames’ forward Matt Stajan).

Staff from the Central Alberta Ronald McDonald House spent the day driving all over the city and region, visiting various McDonald’s restaurants and spreading the happiness around.

It also happened to be the fifth anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer and after a private party just a day before, staff were helping out in one of their busiest fundraisers.

McDonald’s donated $1 for every purchase of any Big Mac, McCafe beverage or Happy Meal to the Ronald McDonald House charities.

The event, which started in 1977, has raised $56-million across Canada. Last year, the campaign raised $5-million. Michelle Caplan, Ronald McDonald House Charities SOuthern and Central Alberta director, marketing and communications, said the Southern and Central Alberta Ronald McDonald Houses, who fundraise together on McHappy Day, raised $235,00 and anticipate similar numbers.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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