Family impressed by Ronald McDonald House

Lydia Whyte sits back on the plush sofa in the library room at the Ronald McDonald House for Central Alberta.

Lydia White of Ponoka and her children Priscella and Jesse Bonsu relax in the great room at the Ronald McDonald House Tuesday. White and her family are living at the house in Red Deer after she gave birth her son Joshua March 12

Lydia White of Ponoka and her children Priscella and Jesse Bonsu relax in the great room at the Ronald McDonald House Tuesday. White and her family are living at the house in Red Deer after she gave birth her son Joshua March 12

Lydia Whyte sits back on the plush sofa in the library room at the Ronald McDonald House for Central Alberta. For now she has her feet up but she doesn’t plan on staying like that for long.

“Every three hours I go to the hospital to see Joshua,” she said, shooting a glance at the time on her phone.

Joshua, her 16-day-old baby, is in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. He was born premature by five weeks on March 12.

Without the new Ronald McDonald House, seeing Joshua every day would have been a “nightmare,” said Whyte, who lives in Ponoka.

“Oh my gosh, I don’t even want to think about it,” she said, throwing her hands to her face. “The driving back and forth every day . . . in the winter, too.”

It’s also difficult for Whyte, 41, to drive comfortably at the moment as she delivered Joshua by caesarean section and is supposed to be taking it easy.

For only $12 a day, Whyte can stay in Red Deer at the Ronald McDonald House, and having such an option has lifted a “huge weight” off her shoulders.

The $12-million facility opened in February to provide affordable accommodations for children and their families who live outside the city and are receiving treatment at the hospital.

Located beside the hospital and backing onto Gaetz Avenue, the three-storey, 11-suite house is just a three-minute walk to Joshua for Whyte.

Before social workers at the hospital told her about the house, Whyte had no idea such a place existed. She was then referred to the facility and walked through its doors for the first time on March 17.

“I wasn’t expecting such a nice residence,” she said. “My family from Lacombe and Edmonton have come to see me here and they’ve all been impressed by it’s homey ‘wow’ factor.”

Whyte’s two older children, Jesse, 14, and Priscilla, 10, have also come to stay with her at the house for the past four days.

“The house is pretty cool,” said Jesse. “There’s even stuff for us to do like the gaming room with the Xbox and Wii.”

It also acts as a social support network for families.

Whyte has met a lot of other mothers with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and they’re always updating each other about their children’s progress.

“Sharing that, you feel less stressed and that it really is going to be OK.”

Families come and go and weekends are especially packed at the house, said Whyte. But people can do their own cooking and laundry so it’s as close to a normal day at home as possible.

“The staff, the volunteers, the beautiful suite with its own bathroom ­— I just couldn’t be more grateful,” she said.

Baby Joshua is now doing “pretty good.” His weight has been up and down but he is bottle feeding well, said Whyte. “We might be able to take him home as soon as this weekend.”

It’s resources like the Ronald McDonald House that make all the difference for smaller rural communities, she said.

“We’ve got to keep telling people about this. . . . It’s made my life so much easier in a difficult time.”

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

A used protective face mask is seen discarded on the ground in Vancouver, B.C. in May 2020. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Medical exception letters required for Albertans who don’t wear masks in public areas

EDMONTON — Alberta has moved to close loopholes people might use as… Continue reading

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan talks with players before the start of the of the Rivalry Series at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2020. Ryan of Spryfield, N.S., has been named head coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Troy Ryan to coach Canadian women’s hockey team in 2022 Winter Olympics

Ryan was Canada’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2019

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Most Read