Achieving the minor miracle of the new Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Vancouver took planning, conviction, and of course money. The previous location could offer occupancy to a maximum of 14 families at any given time; that number at the new place, on the same area as B.C. women’s and children’s hospitals, is 73. Over 2,500 families per year use the facility.
“The need was overwhelming, but it took a lot of different stakeholders to come together to make it happen,” says CEO Richard Pass of the new premises. “We could not be happier with the result.” That result is a splendid, open-spaced building with plenty of natural light, four distinct wings, each with fully dedicated kitchens, and multiple discreet spots for kids to gather, or to simply spend a bit of quiet time by themselves. Designed by architect Michael Green, it is a marvel of West Coast beauty, while remaining highly functional in every way. “It is such a wonderful charity,” says Green. “We were honoured to be part of the project. Projects like RMH resonate so well with our values that they become very personal to design.” Pass concurs, saying that “the entire process was collaborative; we were all working towards a clear goal.”
The purpose of the house, founded in 1983, is to provide a welcoming place for children and their families when their critical healthcare requires extended stays in Vancouver for major treatment. And while the new house resides on the same grounds as the two hospitals, it feels a world away. Treatment is literally a few steps down, but upon returning “home”, these young patients are in a tranquil, natural setting, all part and parcel of making their treatments more effective. The process of funding never really ends, but Pass is an overt optimist. “Many people and businesses stepped forward to make this happen,” he says. “We work hard to maintain our funding, but in the end, the results are so tangible. This is our community being made stronger.”