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Rotary/Flames Park unveiled at Ronald McDonald House

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

 By Miranda Baker

The Calgary Flames partnered with the Rotary Clubs of Calgary for the Ceremonial Grand Opening of the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta Wednesday.

As compared to the original Ronald McDonald House, which was able to accommodate up to 15 families, the new facility has the capacity to take in 23 out-of-town families and provide them with a compassionate, safe and an affordable home away from home. Approximately 75 per cent of the families, whose children are undergoing treatment in a Calgary hospital, come from Alberta.

"We're so excited," Larry Mathieson, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta, told Global Television. "This facility is so great for families because we're located right across from the Children's Hospital, and the facility is twice as big as the current one."

Families will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Rotary/Flames Park, where they can participate in outdoor programs and take advantage of a park that is both safe and clean. The Rotary/Flames Park is composed of a two-acre land parcel that not only includes a tots' playground, but also a team play area and a number of quiet garden retreats.

The park provides families, who are staying in the House, with a private oasis in their time of need.

"The Calgary Flames and Rotary Clubs of Calgary believe that the Rotary/Flames Park and the new Ronald McDonald House will provide much needed support for families and children during a difficult time," commented Flames' President and CEO Ken King.

The Flames Foundation for Life has been a vital part in the development of the new facility contributing $750,000 towards its construction with the help of the Rotary Clubs of Calgary.

The Park will also have a wheelchair accessible playground, gazebo, basketball court and encompass a number of serene walking paths.

The old house, which was located in the community of Killarney, did not have the space for any kind of park for children visiting, so the added feature is a huge boost to the facility, giving children a chance to be kids again.

Since its inception in 1985, the original Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta has provided over 16,000 families with accommodation while their children are seeking medical treatment. The House helps keep families together in a supportive environment and provides them with a home-like atmosphere.

Originally known as the Ronald McDonald House Calgary, the name was changed to the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta in November of 2005 after it was determined that a majority of families using the facility came from in and around Alberta.

The House is open to the public for viewing March 24-25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is slated to open to for use in late April.

The Flames Foundation for Life has raised more than 29 million dollars for education, health, medical research, amateur sport and recreation over the past 26 years and is committed to helping build better communities through teamwork.

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