Event raises more than $500,000

Darren Krause/For Metro Calgary


More than 500 people took part in the inaugural Ronald McDonald House Rock The House five-kilometre and 10-km race yesterday to help raise money for the operation of the newly-opened hospice in Calgary.

Making the choice to stay at the Ronald McDonald House made a world of difference for Lori Kinahan and her family from St Albert.

Four-year-old Bennett Kinahan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in January, and once a bone marrow transplant was ordered in May, the family needed to make a decision on where to stay during the operation and treatments.

Initially, they were going to stay in a downtown apartment.

“This is a very positive choice,” said Kinahan of the Ronald McDonald House, adjacent to the new Alberta Children’s Hospital in the city’s northwest.

Kinahan said the support from both workers and other families gives a family the feeling they’re not alone.

“You get to share that experience with other families and that’s very important,” she said.

“You don’t just feel isolated in your own little, ‘Oh dear, this is all happening to me.’ You see what’s happening to other people and you can help each other.”

On Sunday, the Ronald McDonald House Rock The House five-kilometre and 10-km inaugural race was held to help raise money for the ongoing operation of the house. More than 500 runners and 100 volunteers participated in the event and Ronald McDonald House executive director Larry Mathieson said it’s an event they hope will grow.

“We think it’s an event that can raise money for all 12 (Ronald McDonald) houses across the country,” he said.

“Not only are we interested in replicating (the race) for ourselves, to benefit the house here in southern Alberta, but also for the other 11 houses in Canada.”

Money raised from the race will go toward the ongoing cost of running the house, but also to programs available to families in their time of need.

Since opening the new facility in April, the house has been running at capacity — which is 23 family units.

Young Bennett Kinahan, meanwhile, has been given a clean bill of health from doctors, says his mom, and the family is set to depart near the end of the month.

And Lori says she will have positive memories of her stay in Calgary.

“It’s been super. The ladies and the men that run this place are ... they’re just always here. Hours and hours of extra work and volunteers. It’s just amazing.”

A final tally of money raised at the first annual Rock The House run was not available by press time.

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