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Three families from Saugeen Shores who have, at one time or another, taken shelter at the Ronald McDonald House in London, Ontario. Back row, from left, Reese Carver, Sarah Bearinger, Jeff Carver, Chad Little, Erin Little, Addison Ziegler, Lindsey Ziegler. Front row, from left, Olivia Little, Leah Ziegler, Harper Little.

Hub Staff

Wednesday, May 8 will mark McHappy Day in McDonalds restaurants nationwide. On this day, $1 from every Big Mac, Happy Meal or hot McCafé beverage will be donated to Ronald McDonald House and children’s charities across Canada.

The closest Ronald McDonald House (RMH) to Saugeen Shores is in London, Ontario, but Erin Little, Founder of the Liv-a-Little Foundation, noted that this charity has ties to Saugeen Shores as it has helped families from Saugeen Shores who have found themselves in need of accommodations while their child was being treated at the Children’s Hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre.

On April 25, at the home of Erin and Chad Little, three such families congregated to praise the facilities provided by the Ronald McDonald House and share their experiences. The Littles are parents to Olivia and Harper and have utilized London's RMH several times a year since 2011 when Olivia was escorted by emergency helicopter to London.

At 18 months old, Olivia was diagnosed with cystinosis. The Ronald McDonald House has allowed Olivia and her family to remain together during Olivia’s diagnosis, treatments and checkups.

Addison and Lindsey Ziegler of Port Elgin have made use of the Ronald McDonald Family Room in London when they travelled to take their daughter Leah to checkups and surgeries. Leah, now 3 years old, has already endured three surgeries as a result of being born with a cleft palate. Although Leah’s visits were scheduled in advance, they were no less tormenting and the Ziegler’s were very grateful to have access to the RMH resources. Located within the Children’s Hospital in London, the RMH Family Room offered them a sense of physical comfort with access to amenities such as showers and laundry, and an ease knowing they were never more than a few steps from their daughter.

Jeff Carver, owner of The Wismer House in Port Elgin, along with his wife Sarah Bearinger have also spent time as tenants of the RMH when their daughter, Reese, was rushed to London at just 17 months old. Completely unprepared, the family took refuge in the RMH for eight days while Reese was being cared for.

The Littles will be helping out at the Port Elgin McDonald's for McHappy Day May 8. In addition, a special fundraiser will be held to collect some much needed supplies for London's RMH. A list can be found below. A plum wooden children's playhouse, donated by the three families will be given away to one lucky winner. Details on how to enter will be available on McHappy Day in Port Elgin or email erin.little@livalittlefoundation.com.

The families of Olivia, Leah and Reese only represent a small portion of the Saugeen Shores families who have made use of the RMH in London since it became a ‘home away from home’ in 1985 and Erin Little would like to recognize those families by arranging a group photo on McHappy Day. Email erin.little@livalittlefoundation.com to be a part of this photo.

Olivia

Saugeen Shores' Olivia Little blowing bubbles with mom, Erin.

Leah

Leah Ziegler and her family have taken shelter at the Ronald McDonald House in London a number of times since her first surgery at the age of 6.

Reese

Reese Carver taking in some of the bubble blowing action.

RMH Wish List

The Ronald McDonald House general wish list. Click for larger view. 

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