The Ronald McDonald House® Supports Fort McMurray Families

Families never want or expect to need the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta. But with 65% of Albertan families living outside of a city centre with a children’s hospital, the injury or illness of a child means many must travel far from their support networks to get the specialized hospital care they need. 

When families find themselves away from home for a child’s medical treatment, RMHC Alberta provides a compassionate home-away-from-home so the whole family can get stronger. 

Last year, over 1,200 families from 299 Albertan communities relied on the Ronald McDonald Houses in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Medicine Hat. These Houses help alleviate many of the logistical, financial, and support barriers families face when leaving their home and their community. Providing accommodation, transportation, meals, family-friendly programming, and more, RMHC Alberta saves families over $6.5 million annually while allowing them to stay within arms’ reach of their greatest support system: each other. 

Every year, RMHC Alberta proudly supports Fort McMurray families like the Budgell family. At 29 weeks pregnant, Leah Budgell started experiencing severe back pain. Before she realized she was in labour, she was on a medevac aircraft flying from Fort McMurray to Edmonton for an emergency cesarean section. After a difficult labour, her baby girls Charlie and Hazel were born weighing just three pounds. For several weeks, Leah’s twins needed specialized care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), forcing them to stay in this city 400km from their home and community. A social worker suggested that Leah and her husband stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their girls grew stronger. 

Leah and her husband quickly realized the Ronald McDonald House was exactly where they needed to be. “The level of care and compassion families receive at the Ronald McDonald House is second to none,” Leah says. “Thanks to RMHC Alberta staff and donors, I had a safe place to stay where I could connect with others going through similar experiences and be close to my babies in the NICU.” 

When a child is sick, the whole family is sick. RMHC Alberta keeps families close to each other and to the care they need so they can get stronger together. Learn more at