LABRADOR WEST, N.L.
Two families from Labrador West have teamed up to collect personal care items for Ronald McDonald House.
Nikki Hill and Wendy Osborne have first-hand experience staying at Ronald McDonald House.
Hill has three daughters — 11-year-old Laura Baker, six-year-old Peyton Hill and seven-month-old Hazel-Grace Hill.
“For our family, we’ve travelled multiple times (for medical reasons),” Hill said during a recent phone interview.
Peyton has a heart condition and has undergone surgery in Halifax. The family stayed at Ronald McDonald House in that province on two occasions as well as at Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s during Peyton’s appointments at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre.
The family has also travelled to St. John’s several times for medical appointments for Hazel-Grace, Hill said.
“Having Ronald McDonald House to rely on takes a huge weight off our shoulders,” she said.
Hill and husband Kevin Hill will be heading to St. John’s Nov. 15 for Peyton’s next appointment at the Janeway.
Ronald McDonald House provides a home environment for sick children, their siblings and their parents and/or caregivers.
“You may leave home with nothing but your clothes. You walk in there and there’s food in the pantry, there’s toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, there’s laundry detergent. Everything you could need is there for you and we’ve used it. We’re just happy to pay it back,” Hill said of the current project her family has undertaken with the Osborne family.
Hill reached out on social media for personal care items after her friend Wendy Osborne told her that Ronald McDonald House could use donations such as shampoo, body wash and toothbrushes.
Hill will bring the items she collects with her when the family heads to St. John’s on Nov. 15.
Like Hill, Osborne and husband Matthias Osborne have depended on Ronald McDonald House in this province and beyond.
“Our family has spent the last year between Ronald McDonald House in Toronto and Ronald McDonald House (in St. John’s),” Wendy Osborne said via Facebook messenger.
The couple’s daughter Adaisha Osborne, who is now four years old, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called DADA2 on June 28, 2017. The diagnosis came one week after her baby sister Octavia passed away. Octavia was 17 months old and died from the same disease.
Adaisha underwent two bone marrow transplants in Toronto. Since her return to this province in October she still needs to be seen every week by her doctors at the Janeway. The family is staying at Ronald McDonald House – a five-minute walk from the Janeway.
The Osbornes also have a seven-year-old daughter, Cadence Osborne.
“I don’t know how our family could of stayed together during this past year without this wonderful organization,” Osborne said of Ronald McDonald House.
To contribute to the project drop off items to Hill. She has a bin on her front patio at 3035 Bartlett Drive, Labrador City. Anyone who’d like to contribute financially can contact Hill on Facebook (Nikki Hill). The money will be used to buy new strollers for the families at Ronald McDonald House.
The women also encourage people who may be travelling to St. John’s or are in the area to drop off items to Ronald McDonald House at 150 Clinch Crescent.
Christine Morgan, Director, Development and Communications with Ronald McDonald House NL said the House Pantry Program provides families with a variety of staple foods as well as various toiletries items, laundry and cleaning supplies.
Families have access to a fully stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer while staying at Ronald McDonald House, Morgan said.
“We are very grateful to the community who help provide the little things by donating in-kind item(s) to Ronald McDonald House. We strive to offer the best possible support for families and all the little things that make Ronald McDonald house a home,” Morgan said.
Hill summed up well what Ronald McDonald House means not only to children but also their families.
“The staff at Ronald McDonald House is phenomenal. It’s like being at home, really,” she said.
Information on items most needed at this time can be found at https://rmhcnl.ca/get-involved/wish-list/.