May 11 is celebrated as McHappy Day, a day where every meal sold at a McDonald's franchise across Canada sees a portion of the proceeds donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Brent and Tracy Sweeney, proud supporters of McHappy Day, have relied on Ronald McDonald House Charities since the birth of their son, David.
Their son was born with an abdominal wall defect, causing his abdominal organs to be located outside of his body when born. He also suffered from smaller lungs and a hole in his heart, known as a ventricular septal defect.
“With all that trouble, we ended up spending over five hundred days in Ronald McDonald House. The care there, and the love there, and everything was just fantastic; they made you feel like you were at home,” explained Brent Sweeney.
The Sweeney family initially spent three hundred consecutive days, often returning to care for their children, eventually staying over five hundred days.
“There was always an open door for you, so you knew when you got there you had a place to stay.”
Sweeney stated he was very grateful he had the Ronald McDonald house to rely on while taking care of their sons, David and Daniel.
“If we didn’t have a place like that to stay, we would have lost everything. They charged us 10 dollars a night to stay there. They supplied you with a bed, blankets, food, coffee, comfort and friendship.”
Karen Linsley, Director of Development and Communications with Ronald McDonald's Charities Saskatchewan explained how the houses work.
“What we do at Ronald McDonald's Charities Saskatchewan is we provide support for families while their child is receiving medical treatment. In Saskatoon we have the House, so that provides accommodations for families, so a safe, warm place for families to come. In Prince Albert, we have the Family Room, which is located in the Victoria Hospital.”
Linsley explained that since 1985, when the Houses opened, Ronald McDonald's Charities Saskatchewan has supported and served over twenty-four thousand families across the province.
“It really is the house that love built,” stated Sweeney.