After her family relied on a Ronald McDonald House to keep them close to her niece in the hospital, Kerstin takes pride in knowing that her work at McDonald’s helps families with seriously ill children every day.

Kerstin, a McDonald’s crew member in Toronto, knows first-hand what it’s like to have a seriously ill child in the family. Her niece, Cameron, was born with a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18 and, for the first few months of her life, she was in and out of the hospital. When Cameron had to be admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Fountain Valley Hospital near Los Angeles, California, Kerstin and her family found themselves in need of a place to stay.

That’s when they discovered Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). The family was offered a room at Orange County Ronald McDonald House, just a few miles from the hospital, where Kerstin says the staff welcomed them warmly. Kerstin recalls being impressed by the cleanliness and comfort of the house, which had a large kitchen, a family room, comfortable bedrooms, and a laundry room. “It truly felt like a home,” she says.

Most of all, she fondly remembers the sense of community, and how families would share food with each other and support each other during their stay. Through her experience, she gained a deep appreciation for the importance of RMHC’s mission.

Now, as a McDonald’s crew member, Kerstin takes pride in knowing that the work she does every day helps to support families with seriously ill children. “It’s thanks to the generosity of guests who purchase Happy Meals, RMHC cookies, or who support McHappy Day, that RMHC can continue to provide such essential support to families in need,” says Kerstin. “It makes me proud to know that I’m part of supporting thousands of families at RMHC Toronto each year.”

For families like Kerstin’s, and millions more around the world, RMHC’s mission is truly a lifeline. Globally, RMHC Chapters provide warm beds, hot meals, and a sense of community for families in over 60 countries and regions facing the crisis of childhood illness.

The support of our founding and forever partner, McDonald’s, is vital to our work. Last year alone, McHappy Day raised over $800,000 for RMHC Toronto, the equivalent of 4,371 nights of comfort for families with seriously ill children. The success of our most important fundraising day of the year relies on the passion and dedication of crew members just like Kerstin, who know that no child should be alone when they are sick.

“A child’s recovery requires the support of the entire family,” says Kerstin. “I’m grateful to the staff of RMHC across Canada, the United States, and around the world for helping families stay close to their sick child.”

This year, McHappy Day takes place on Wednesday, May 10. To help support families in your community with seriously ill children, be sure to visit your local restaurant – a portion of proceeds from ALL menu items will support your local RMHC Chapter.