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- Positive Impact, Positive Attitude
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- Finding Comfort With Her Mom
Kim McKay, a mother from Williamswood, Nova Scotia, spent months on a cot in her 15-year-old son's hospital room.
She ate at the hospital cafeteria, and was anxious and exhausted. When Kyle had to return for another lengthy hospitalization almost four years later, Kim wasn’t just overcome with concern for her child — she couldn’t bear the thought of returning to those living conditions.
This time, however, there was construction going on at IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Ronald McDonald House Atlantic Canada was building the country’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room, which opened January 2007. It is a quiet retreat within the walls of the hospital where families could relax and recharge. When Kim got her first peek at the Ronald McDonald Family Room — complete with a faux fireplace, computers, a flat-screen TV, laundry facilities, dining area and fully stocked kitchen — she was overwhelmed.
Knowledge from Experience
Kim’s happiness was all the payment Darryl Pierrynowski needed. A longtime volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Halifax, Darryl donated his services as project coordinator of the Ronald McDonald Family Room. He saw how the homelike environment, home-cooked meals and camaraderie at a Ronald McDonald House helped families endure this stressful time.And he knew from personal experience what the McKays and other families were going through.
Darryl, too, had slept next to his child’s bedside when his infant son was hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit. Darryl himself was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the time he offered to manage the 18-month project.
Located near the neonatal intensive care unit, the Ronald McDonald Family Room includes four bedrooms, available every night. Volunteers provide a warm, relaxing environment for guests, help families with craft projects, provide meals for dinner guests, and offer special services such as hairdressing or massage therapy.