Over the past few years, Bryn Felteau-McInnis has given more than $2,500 in toys for the Magic Room at Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald House. | B.Felteau-McInnis photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

For everything that Ronald McDonald House did for them, Bryn Felteau-McInnis wants to offer their thanks by putting on a big fundraising party.

“They were really great about being an accepting and supportive place,” they said.

In their young life, the 21-year-old found themselves in need of repeated hospital stays in Edmonton, sometimes for months at a time. These circumstances can certainly be difficult enough. For families to then endure the financial hardship of staying at hotels and paying for meals out is frequently far too much for most to accommodate.

“Accommodating” is exactly what Ronald McDonald House does. Since almost 70 per cent of Canadian families live outside of communities that have children’s hospitals, they offer inexpensive rooms so that they can be close to their children in hospital. They also provide food and meals in their open kitchens, and organize other services such as yoga and having hair salons stop by to offer haircuts.  

According to the organization’s interactive map on its website, it has already helped three families from Jasper this year alone, and it hosts more than 1,000 families annually in its four facilities in the province.

“We really appreciated being there. It allowed not only for Bryn’s dad and I… to be in Edmonton with them, but also Bryn’s sister was able to come and spend time. If we would have been in a hotel during that time, it would have quickly become unaffordable. The Ronald McDonald House only charges $10 per night so if you’re there for a long time, you can manage it,” said Kim Felteau, Bryn’s mom.

They both added that the facility’s staff are very understanding and supportive. They were also able to meet other families and share experiences, which offered its own reliefs and rewards.

One of Bryn’s favourite aspects of the place was the Magic Room, a fun little room full of new toys.

“The Magic Room is there to brighten the mood of a kid who’s maybe gotten bad news or is having a procedure that they’re nervous about. When you leave, you get to choose a toy from the Magic Room,” they said.

Bryn has made it a mission to help Ronald McDonald House help others. Over the past four years, they have donated approximately $2,500 worth of toys to the Magic Room. Bryn and Kim also want to make sure that more and more people know about the facility and how big of a help it was to them during some very difficult times in their lives.

“It is an amazing, supportive environment,” Bryn said.

“The staff really make an important contribution because they always check in and check to make sure that as parents and family members, you’re doing okay. They check in to see how your child is doing,” Kim said. “It really makes a difference.”

With so many reasons and so many ways to say thanks, Bryn has organized a fundraiser with a hearty emphasis on “fun.”

When their FUNdraiser takes place at the McCready Centre on Saturday, April 29, there will be three fun crafts and activities that Bryn planned. These will include an obstacle course plus a scavenger hunt that will offer prizes for the first 25 kids who complete it.

Afterward, you can stop by a table where Bryn will be selling their handmade art and crafts. Look for paintings and Coco’s Café will also have cookies for sale.

Entry is by donation for the event that runs from 1 to 3 p.m. that day.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 18, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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