Reporting Gordy Leach
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The Ronald McDonald House is like a second home for families when their kids are in the hospital — and soon, there will be one in St. Paul.
When kids are recovering from surgery, getting chemotherapy or other treatments, there is almost always a family member with them at the hospital.
But while the kids are resting in patient rooms, relatives need a place where they can have some down time, maybe even spend the night.
A place like that opens Friday at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room has all the comforts of home, like a large kitchen, big-screen TV and lots of games.
Junior Wright and his mom are from Oklahoma. While he gets treatment at Gillette, his mom may be able to stay here, in one of four bedrooms, with a private bath.
“This space is meant for families to come into and relax and feel like they are not inside the walls of a hospital,” said Kara Miller, director of the Family Room. “They are more inside a home and it’s the comforts of home, with the food, the furniture, the books, the movies, the fireplace, just a place to come and relax and go back to be the best parents and grandparents and siblings that they can be for the patient who is in the hospital.”
Bridgette Wright likes what she sees here. She has spent plenty of time in hospitals with Junior.
“It’s pretty hard, you’re used to home cooked meals and you can’t cook any meals at home, so it’s missing family and stuff. It’s pretty tough,” she said.
And, all of this is provided to families at no cost.
“We have a fully stocked kitchen, a fully stocked pantry, a variety of beverages, the fridge is full, even today, so families really don’t need to bring anything,” said Cate Pardo of Gillette Children’s Healthcare. “They just need to bring themselves and relax and enjoy the comforts of home.”