Ronald McDonald House in Winnipeg will be able to provide nearly three times as many families from outside the city with a home away from home when its new building is completed sometime in the summer of 2022.
Construction of the new house, which will have 40 rooms compared to 14 at the current location, began on March 16. It will cost more than $19 million, about $15 million of which has already been raised.
“The needs of families has exceeded our current capacity to serve and support those families so we worked with our hospital partners in looking at the pediatric medical projections and needs for the next five,10, 20 years, “ said RMHC Manitoba CEO Wendy Galagan.
Ronald McDonald House provides an affordable place to stay for families of northern and rural Manitoba and northwestern Ontario children receiving medical treatment and is located just down the street from Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg.
Patricia Kandiurin of Churchill first stayed at the current house in 2001 when she was waiting to give birth to her son Dmitri, who was born premature.
“We had to go where there was blood in case I needed a transfusion and a neonatal care unit,” she says. “My husband, my son, my nephew and my daughter, we all moved there for three months. I can’t even imagine how we would’ve functioned in Winnipeg with five of us plus me being pregnant with my son and then, when he was born, having to go to the hospital numerous times a day to feed him."
Not only was staying at the house more affordable than hotel, it also provided a friendlier atmosphere.
“The staff there are always so welcoming and accommodating,” said Kandiurin, who stayed there multiple times when Dmitri had to go back for other medical treatment. “When they had to put new fish in the tank, they’d take the kids with them and the kids got to pick the fish. It is a home away from home. It was pretty awesome.”
Though 80 per cent of fundraising for the new house, located a block away from the current one, is already complete, Galagan says donations can be made via the organization’s website at rmhcmanitoba.org.
“This is a charity that exists for one reason and that’s just to keep families together during times of childhood illness or injury,” she said. “While we are physically located in Winnipeg, we are a charity that supports all communities across Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. We welcome others to join in our mission and our dream of building a new Ronald McDonald House.”