Amber Hobbs found out early on in her pregnancy that her son had a condition where his stomach and intestines were outside of his body. Her hometown hospital was not equipped to deal with the condition, so she travelled back and forth to Edmonton for scans and tests.
Three weeks before Emmett was born, Amber moved into Ronald McDonald House Charities® Northern Alberta (RMHCNA). Amber’s cousin had stayed at RMHCNA in the past, so she was familiar with the House.
“You hear about RMHCNA and the Stollery, but when you have to use it you have a different appreciation for it,” says Amber. At first the House seemed huge and overwhelming, but each day Amber became more comfortable in her new home.
Once Emmett was born he was transferred from the Royal Alexandra Hospital to the Stollery Children’s Hospital for treatment. John, Emmett’s father, travelled back and forth for work, so Amber got to know other House families. She didn’t expect the friendships that families make in the House. All RMHCNA families have their own journeys, but everyone leans on each other for support.
While RMHCNA provides accommodation for families, it is more than just a roof over our families’ heads. “I use the shuttle every day. It’s impossible to park at the hospital. You don’t have to spend two hours cooking your meals. You know when meals are ready, so you can eat and get back to the hospital,” says Amber. “You don’t think of these services until they are given to you.”
RMHCNA runs on community support, from donations to volunteers. When asked about community involvement Amber said, “There aren’t enough words to thank the community. There’s no way we could be here if it wasn’t for them.”
Without the House Amber would have stayed in Vermilion while Emmett stayed in Edmonton. She couldn’t even imagine where her family would be without the House, knowing that she wouldn’t have been with Emmett every day.
In the last six months Amber has stayed at RMHCNA for a total of 131 days and counting. When Emmett grows up Amber hopes that he appreciates the support RMHCNA has given his family and gives back.
“It really is a home away from home and everyone at the House is here to support you.”