What started as a class project by two students has turned into a team of six’s undertaking of a daunting task to help their community. Ronald’s Helping Heroes, made up of six Capilano University students, planned to raise $27,325 in five weeks to support Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House (RMH) charity, which aims to provide support and accommodation for families visiting with sick children who require treatment.
Not long ago, the group of Capilano University students banded together with one common goal: helping those in need. The five students, Daniel Dubois, Sian Hebden, Kimia Tajbakhsh, Nicole Delgiglio, Gordon Cheng and Alicia Catalano, developed a campaign with the ability to unite the Capilano campus and make a difference in the local community.
Why the five week campaign? On October 18, Rogers Arena will play host to this year’s We Day. The invite-only event celebrates youth who have made a beneficial impact to the community. As the only university sponsor, Capilano University will be presenting during the ceremony and the group plans to announce the results of their fundraising campaign and remind youth in attendance that their good efforts do not have to end simply because they have graduated high school.
With a mission to provide for families needing to travel long distances, Ronald McDonald House has majority of families coming in from Vancouver Island, Okanagan and northern B.C.
While families are not presented with any charge to reside in the house while in town, the cost to RMH is $75 per night, per family. The amount the group is aiming to raise is the equivalent of 365 nights, meaning that one family can stay for up to an entire year.
“A lot of these families would have no where to go without Ronald McDonald House,” said Tiffany McFadyen, Director of Annual Giving of Ronald McDonald House. “They come from out of town, they get a diagnosis that their child either has cancer or another devastating illness and literally are put on a plane and are here within hours. Without us they would be sleeping on a hospital room floor or staying in a hotel.”
The average stay for families is anywhere between six and eight months, depending on the diagnosis. “For a lot of these families it’s simply not affordable to have a hotel as an option,” said McFadyen. “To the families, this is their home for a year of their lives and this place becomes a community for them. Without donations we wouldn’t be able to provide that support and the love and healing you need when your child is sick.”
At present, RMH can accommodate a maximum capacity of 13 families at any one time. They are in the process of constructing a new house in Vancouver that will be able to house 73 families in desperate need of support – a growth of over five times, scheduled to be completed in Spring 2014.
Photo of the new Ronald McDonald House under construction – October 8, 2013
Image: RMH B.C.
All the money raised by Ronald’s Helping Heroes will go towards the new expansion, and in order to sustain the new operation RMH needs to raise over $1.2 million.
Once this campaign is over, McFadyen said the goal is to make Ronald’s Helping Heroes a high end leadership team that will go out into the community and tell the story of Ronald McDonald House.
The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) allows families with sick children to stay at their house on Angus Drive while they are in town receiving treatment. RMH is able to provide all the comforts of home (warm beds, tasty meals and a relaxing environment) while at the same time housing multiple families at one time.
When these families are faced with the stress of a sick child, arranging travel and accommodation only adds to the strain, and can quickly present a financial burden. RMH is a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for families to stay while they work towards a resolution for their sick child. This allows the children to form lifelong bonds of friendship with others who can truly understand their struggle, and become a beacon of hope for one another. The house is free for families to stay.