When a child is sick, sometimes the best medicine is the healing power of their families. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwestern Ontario allow families with sick children to stay close together and to provide that much needed love and support.
My story began when I was 16 and a desire to live a healthy lifestyle quickly took an unhealthy turn. I lost over a third of my body weight in 3 months. After being diagnosed with an eating disorder, I was transferred from Windsor to London Health Sciences Centre to receive the treatment that I needed.
The night before my transfer, one of the nurses in Windsor told my mom about the Ronald McDonald House in London. Just 165 steps away from the front doors of the Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House London provides all of the comforts of home to families with sick children for just $10 a night.
Throughout my two-year journey, my family and I spent many nights at the Ronald McDonald House. It became a like second home to us. We were always welcomed into the house with a smile, and the volunteers at the house showed us the same love and affection that they would have shown to their own families.
The support of families in situations similar to ours was also an unforeseen benefit of staying in the house. We all truly became one family, taking turns supporting each other on the bad days, and celebrating with each other on the good ones.
We shared meals together and watched movies together. When I was frustrated and trying to navigate the mayhem that is online chemistry, one of the moms in the house stayed up late to help me to understand. When I left the hospital on my 17th birthday and returned to the house, one of the families had planned a surprise party for me.
These memories are shining spots in what are some of the worst years of my life. But I wouldn’t be here writing these words if it weren’t for the Ronald McDonald House. It allowed me to receive the treatment that I needed with my family never more than 165 steps away.
The House asks families to pay just $10 a night. In reality, the cost to the house is closer to $177. RMHC Southwestern Ontario doesn’t receive funding from any agencies or government bodies. It depends on donations from community members and corporations in order to provide support to families.
In 2018, the RMHC Southwestern Ontario served 4,517 families, providing 15,990 nights of comfort. The Lerners’ donation would go a long way in allowing the house to continue to provide support to these families. It would help to ensure that families of sick children always have a place to call home, and people to call family.
Learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwestern Ontario