The event is being held virtually for the second year in a row, asking the public to show support by running, walking, biking or getting outside.
This year looks a little bit different as the fundraiser has added a new category for four-legged friends.
Nixon the therapy dog has been an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House since 2016. His owner Laura McIntosh said she realized she had an awesome dog and wanted to volunteer. This was the perfect opportunity, she said.
“I had a desire to fill a need,” said McIntosh. “I didn’t feel I was fulfilling it with my family.
“I had some sick parents and I tried to figure out what I could do in my own community to support people struggling with health issues.”
All the money goes back to support four Ronald McDonald Homes across Alberta. It supports Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.
“There are about 1,100 families that utilize Ronald McDonald House every year,” said McIntosh.
“They have to turn away a lot of families just because they are at capacity. So these funds will help them in expanding their house footprint.”
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McIntosh and Nixon are looking to raise more than $5,000 this year. As of Monday, the pair was just shy of $200.
The organization is important to McIntosh and not only because of the kids; but also the parents and volunteers.
“There is a huge volunteer support system there: the families themselves and just seeing what people are enduring and struggling with and rising above and just the spirit of everybody.
“It’s just magic,” said McIntosh.
Fundraising is something Nixon enjoys and seems to be pretty good at.
“My co-workers have that spirit to fundraise and support and they are always so, so generous,” McIntosh said. “Friends and family, just word of mouth. We have even been featured on The Edmonton Dog Blog on Instagram and got a few donations through there.”
“It’s really impressive how generous people are, especially given challenges around COVID and financial issues.”
Ronald McDonald House Alberta director of communications Suzanne Pescod said people have been fundraising since March and they surpassed $100,000 before the event even started. This is something that has never been done before.
“We are really excited to see the way people have gravitated towards it and have built a bit of an online community,” Pescod said. “The posts that we see, the social media.
“We just love seeing how people are getting out and getting active,” said Pescod.
Because the event is virtual this year, it allows families from across Alberta to participate.
Pescod said the money will make sure families can access the resources and supports no matter what their specific needs are.
“The services are really in demand by families. There are a lot of people that need to travel for very specialized medical needs. So we want to make sure there is a suite available for any family that needs one.”
Nixon and his owner encourage everyone to help make a difference.
“Donate what you can. Every dollar counts, every dollar matters.
“You’re supporting families,” McIntosh said.
“You never know when you are going to need something and Ronald McDonald House is there for families. Keeping families close is so important during difficult times.”
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