Port Elgin family thankful for support of Ronald McDonald House
Celine Moreau, CTV London
Published Friday, February 8, 2019 3:14PM EST
If you’ve noticed heart-shaped cookies recently at McDonald’s restaurants, they’re part of a fundraising campaign for Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for many families.
Nine-year-old Olivia Little was diagnosed as a baby with a rare genetic disease called Cystinosis.
“The amino acid can’t release from her cells so it builds up and crystallizes and those crystals attack the entire body but the kidneys and eyes first,” says Olivia’s mom, Erin Little.
Olivia is one of approximately 75 people in all of Canada with this condition. There is no cure and the life expectancy is around 27 years old
Her mom says, “As I think most parents feel who have kids who are sick, it wasn’t part of the plan.”
The family travels from their home in Port Elgin to London for treatment several times a year.
Olivia’s father Chas says the family have started calling the Ronald McDonald House a home away from home.
“All the staff, all the people, all the volunteers, everyone is so welcoming and friendly and they make you feel like, ‘Hey anything you need we are here for you.’”
Heather Hoare, director of development at Ronald McDonald House, says hundreds of families stay at the home annually.
“We want to give them some comfort, we want to give them an ability to take a hot shower and have a hot meal. We want them to not have to worry about the little things and the details we can take care of for them.”
That’s why fundraisers are key to keeping the home operational, like the one taking place now at McDonald’s with the sale of heart-shaped cookies.
Five cents from each cookie will go towards Ronald McDonald House.
The heart-shaped cookies will be available for purchase until Valentine’s Day