Scott Irwin, Phoebe McFarlane, and their baby girl Luella Dawn are one of the first families to have stayed in the Medicine Hat House. Luella had stopped growing around 33 weeks gestation, so doctors planned to induce Phoebe and deliver the baby early. But these things rarely go as planned, and Luella arrived by emergency C-section the same day Phoebe was supposed to be induced.

Two days later, Phoebe was discharged but Luella wasn’t strong enough to go home. Scott and Phoebe live 45 minutes away in Tilley. A nurse told them about the Ronald McDonald House, as there were no available transition rooms in the hospital.

“The staff here are just amazing – extremely compassionate and empathetic,” Scott says. “They are very attentive, immediately asking us if we needed anything. It’s more like coming home to family.”

Ronald McDonald House is absolutely invaluable to any community.

If it weren’t for the brand new Ronald McDonald House, Scott & Phoebe would have had to spend five nights in a hotel. For Phoebe, being across the street from her daughter meant less stress and less anxiety. For Scott, it meant less worry about finances.

“Not having to worry about whether we had enough money in the bank to take care of a hotel or, if we didn’t, how we were going to go about getting the finances to be able to stay in a hotel…it’s a huge blessing,” he says.

Scott and Phoebe say there’s no doubt that the Ronald McDonald House in Medicine Hat will be beneficial to other families in southeastern Alberta.

“Ronald McDonald House is absolutely invaluable to any community.”

“Even if a family just has to come for the day for a cancer treatment, or are staying overnight, they can come here and have some normalcy,” Scott says. “Being stuck in the hospital is just no fun.”

“We can’t express our gratitude enough for having us,” he adds. “Without it – we don’t know what we would have done.”