Across the world there are over 350 Ronald McDonald Houses® bringing family-centered care to families every day of the year. It all started with the House in Philadelphia which opened in 1974. Families with sick children were in crisis, and an original group of champions dreamed of a supportive home to ease their burdens. Now, Houses are in 42 different countries across the globe, all connected through the mission of keeping families close.
It’s incredible to see just how close the Houses are, even though they can be thousands of miles apart.
Our House is open to families every day of the week, from the House itself to the programs and services we provide, and we have an amazing team of part-time guest services coordinators taking care of families on the weekend. Katrina Bowman, one of our fantastic part-time coordinators, makes it her mission to ease the minds of families when they check into the House and comfort them through our many programs. But what a lot of people don’t know is that Katrina went on her own Ronald McDonald House journey with her daughter Ayla.
Ayla was seven weeks old when she began to have trouble breathing. Tests in Edmonton showed that Ayla had chylothorax, a very rare condition that put too much pressure on her lungs. The Bowman family spent five months in an Edmonton hospital, but doctors and the family knew that Ayla needed experts in the chylothorax field, so they contacted a hospital in Philadelphia. It was there that they were introduced to the Ronald McDonald House.
The Bowmans spent one month staying at the original Ronald McDonald House where a simple cup of coffee meant the world to them. It meant that someone was looking after Katrina and her husband Cameron, while they were looking after their daughter. We are very pleased to say that Ayla is now a happy and healthy girl who just started grade one. When the family resumed their life in Edmonton Katrina knew she wanted to give back to the House she called home.
“I had known for a long time that I wanted to give back to the Ronald McDonald House in some way. When I saw the weekend position posting on Facebook, it seemed like a great fit!” says Katrina. “My favourite part about being at the House, beyond question, is just learning awesome little things about the family members.”
Every time Katrina checks a family out of the House she gets the goosebumps. She has been in the same position and knows what an emotional and amazing experience it is for all families. It is this compassion and empathy that makes Katrina a superstar in our eyes.
We are looking for more passionate people like Katrina to join our staff at RMHCNA. Deadlines for the current employment opportunities have been extended.