Since August 15, 1985, over 17,000 families with seriously ill or injured children have called RMHNA home. Most families bid the House farewell and return home to a new normal.Others have left silently to mourn a loss. On July 26, 2014, we sought to Share The Light of the House Heroes who have passed.
Our goal was to ensure that families who had suffered incomprehensible loss know that they are not alone. We are here to grieve with them. Their family’s story serves to light our path as we journey beside other families in similar situations.
RMHNA was blessed to have Ronald McDonald House® Co-Founder Dr. Audrey Evans attended the event from Philadelphia. Her heart was behind that very first House in 1974 and having her take part in our inaugural ceremony was incredible.
We were overwhelmed with the response. Thirty families were honoured that day with nine families travelling to RMHNA. The ceremony opened with the lighting of a lantern that is now part of our culture and will be lit to shine on the days that are darkened by the loss of a child.
The names of the children were read and each child had a personalized luminary. We were blessed to hear stories of their lights while they had shone bright.
Brodie Aikman, a former House dad, wrote this poem that was read aloud to close ceremony:
You’re always in our family,
When you walk into our home.
From the first time that you enter,
You’ll never be alone.
No matter where life takes us,
What journeys start and end,
We’ll always be together,
You’ll always have a friend.
A shoulder you can cry on,
Hands to hold you up,
Someone to keep you going
When you think you’ve had enough.
Someone you can laugh with
Someone who’ll lend an ear,
Someone to share your hopes and dreams,
These things are always here.
Our House is always open,
Our hearts are open too,
Together we’re a family,
We’re always here for you.
– Brodie Aikman
The group made its way to the schoolyard across the street to release white dove balloons, one for each child remembered.
We wish to express our gratitude to the following that made our inaugural Share The Light ceremony a beautiful expression of kindness, love and light: our families first and foremost, Dr. Audrey Evans, Carlin Getz Photography, Michael Getz, Scott Weller, Jenn Garman and whish.ca.
We would like every RMHNA family who has lost a child to have the option to attend future Share The Light ceremonies. If your family or somebody in your circle should be added to our future events, please contact Kristi Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 780-439-5437 ext. 244.