McHappy Day helps families
When Donna Webb’s son was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just 12-years-old, their lives were immediately uprooted from their home in Vernon.
Within 36 hours of the diagnosis, George Webb was in surgery at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The single mom and her son lived in the hospital for the first couple weeks.
But even after George was released, going home wasn’t an option yet.
“We were down there for two-and-a-half months before we were even allowed to come home,” said Donna, who also returned for treatment every six weeks and check ups.
Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, the Webbs were afforded not just a place to stay, but a home equipped with all the love and support to help them through their journey.
“It’s so much happier than you can ever imagine. It’s such a cheerful place,” said Donna, adding that being with other families going through similar experiences had a profound impact.
That was eight years ago, and today George is a happy and healthy 20-year-old.
While this Vernon family no longer needs to visit the Ronald McDonald House, there are, on average, 10 families from the Vernon area who stay there each year.
In fact, 42 per cent of the families staying at the house come from the Okanagan.
But the fact is, with just 13 rooms the house must turn away almost as many families as it accepts. Even the Webb’s were sometimes unable to stay during checkup visits.
Therefore a new house is being built, which will accommodate 73 families.
To help fund the new house, McDonald’s Restaurants across B.C. are raising money through the 19th annual McHappy Day Wednesday.
Vernon’s three McDonald’s locations, and one in Armstrong, will join the Canada-wide McHappy Day.
On Wednesday, $1 from the sale of every Egg McMuffin, Happy Meal and Big Mac will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House B.C.
Local celebrities will be on hand at each of the locations serving up smiles for the worthy cause.
The local restaurants are also offering a free delivery service to businesses with an order of $30 or more between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Orders for lunch must be in by Monday and can be made by calling 250-545-6337.
The three Vernon locations and one in Armstrong raised $10,000 at last year’s McHappy Day. Those funds help the Ronald McDonald House ensure families of sick children have a home away from home.
As Donna can attest, the colourful and cheery home, complete with linens, toys for the kids and everything your own home might include, gives families one less thing to stress about.
“I just can’t imagine trying to stay in a hotel through that. I think it would be really depressing and isolating,” said Donna.
“(The house) was absolutely the best thing of the experience and we still have friends that we made at Ronald McDonald House that we still keep in touch with.”