(From right) Brigitte, Geoff, Olivia, and Isabella Ady are supporting Ronald McDonald House’s Step Up for Families campaign, a very meaningful fundraiser for the Ady family. (Submitted photo)

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Cancer doesn’t stop due to the coronavirus pandemic, and neither do the people that fight it.

Ronald McDonald House-BC (RMHBC) has been a welcome haven for families whose children are going through cancer treatment, and although it had to change its protocol during the pandemic, the importance of RMHBC is felt even more acutely because of it.

Which is why a Warfield family is signed up and encouraging residents to support the ‘Step Up for Families’ campaign.

In 2018, Geoff and Brigitte Ady’s daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed with bone cancer, and if it wasn’t for the sanctuary given to her family by RMHBC the Adys, and other Kootenay families like them, could not have spent that critical time close to their children.

“We ended up spending close to 10 months in Vancouver and with no place to live, the Ronald McDonald House became our home away from home,” said Brigitte. “Without this incredible resource, I’m not sure what my family would have done.”

The ‘Step Up for Families’ campaign encourages families or a group to organize a walk, run, or roll (ie: bicycle, rollerblade) for a total of 73 kilometers in June while raising funds to support families who stay at the RMHBC’s 73-bedroom house.

“With the Covid-19 crisis the house is not able to do a lot of it’s regular fundraising,” said Brigitte.

“And so they are really having to think outside the box to be able to meet those targets and be able to accommodate the families that they have in the past.”

RMHBC has housed numerous families from the Kootenays and more than 200 communities across B.C.

Brigitte says the support that Ronald McDonald House offers goes beyond just putting a roof over their heads.

“BC Children’s Hospital really helped us, but in our heart of hearts is the Ronald McDonald House. They were incredible in so many ways to all the members of our family.

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte shared. “We felt so safe and so comforted there, it’s the house itself that’s incredible.”

The house offered both physical activities and mental and emotional support for the children and families, including massages courtesy of the Vancouver School of Massage, and meditation gatherings.

“More so than anything, you are grouped with people who are in the same situation that you are, and that moral support where they actually really, really get what you’re going through is invaluable.”

The Step Up For Families campaign will bring communities together for a virtual event that can take place from the comfort of home and at a safe social distance.

Families can register their team online by clicking the events tab on the Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon website, at rmhbc.ca.( rmhbc.ca/step-up-for-families/ )

You can choose a fundraising goal and then “step up” in June.

There’s also the option to make it fun by sharing videos of your family’s fundraising activity on social media.

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