Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities® South Central Ontario About Us

houweling-hope.jpegBack To All

The Houweling Family

Our Family of 7 has been incredibly blessed with the support of RMHC SCO! We had the opportunity to stay at the House for 4.5 months while we were in McMaster Hospital with our youngest daughter Hope.

Hope was born with a rare condition called Trisomy18/ Edwards Syndrome. Hope was deemed to not live long and we anticipated a short stay at McMaster. Hope proved her diagnosis was not going to stop her and she is still with us, thriving! April 4, 2023 marked one year since we left RMHC SCO. Hope is now 16 months old (born November 19, 2021).

Ronald McDonald House made it possible for our family to actually be a family during a really tough time. We were able to have meals, evenings, and each moment together. The 4.5 months brought us together and even allowed us the ability to continue our homeschooling from our bedroom at the House. It truly felt like a hotel walking in the doors - just incredibly beautiful and welcoming. Though it wasn’t just the bed space that we loved, the closeness to the hospital was a huge help – it meant we didn’t have to drive an hour each way, every day from home.
Other things that stood out about the House were the amazing team (volunteers and staff), the love, the space and time to create relationships with our new RMHC SCO family during a time of uncertainty. Forever Family!

We were able to, in the most difficult season, have peace - peace that our family was together, safe, warm, and fed so incredibly well by the amazing kitchen team. We enjoyed every single meal, all the snacks, the downstairs entertainment to keep the kids busy and make a time away from home enjoyable. We even enjoyed our short trip down the hall to do our laundry (and the gifts left in the laundry room for the kids). There was never a dull moment - RMHCSCO packed in so much fun in all ways they could to bring life to the House and make it a home. My kids miss being at Ronald McDonald House. They loved the opportunity it created even in a time of change and crisis. They didn’t feel out of place, they didn’t miss home - because… Home is where the heart is, and our family was together with others who also found comfort in togetherness.

The Ronald McDonald team of South Central Ontario made the House an exceptional home for us and we are SO incredibly grateful to have enjoyed our stay. Because we were able to have homemade meals and everything we needed, it allowed Hope’s Dad to financially take the time off work needed to spend time with her in hospital and with our other kids at the House. The impact of keeping families close is beyond huge.

We spent Christmas 2021 at the House and we have no words that can properly provide that experience for us all - we were beyond blessed. We were given the opportunity to pick out decorations and decorate a small Christmas tree in our room together as a family. And if you have kids of your own and this is something you do every year … you understand the incredible impact having that at having home tradition brought to you has. In the business of Hospital life, my husband and I were brought downstairs by RMH to pick out Christmas Gifts for our 5 children. The gifts were never a staple of Christmas for us, but knowing the immense love of those who made those gifts possible through donations felt like an extra warm hug. This love brought such joy to the hearts of our kids. 

To literally want for nothing while being at the House is such a gift. We have a lot of Hope in our family. We Hope that we can help others going through a tough time experience joy. We are so grateful for those who came before us in donating to make our stay possible. Before going to RMHC SCO we were told “it’s the place you never want to have to go to, but it’s the place you never want to leave.” We totally get it ! We thank God so richly for this – we are thankful to RMH for absolutely everything, for the families we met along the way, for the laughter and the opportunities.

Donate today to support families like the Houwelings!

Our House Insider Newsletter

Sign up for our e-newsletter to read inspiring stories from our families and keep up to date with Ronald McDonald House Charities® South Central Ontario news.