When Darla Langille-Schumann from Amherst, Nova Scotia was born she was diagnosed with a cleft lip and palette and a hole in her heart. She has had 12 surgeries over the years that involved many trips to Halifax. Her first stay at Ronald McDonald House was when she was four years old.
“Staying at the House is so convenient,” says Carla Langille, Darla’s mom. “It has relieved stress on our family and helped us out financially. We don’t have to worry about travel or making arrangements to take care of my oldest daughter. You really feel at home and you are so close to the hospital.”
Plus, Carla says that her two daughters think the House is ‘awesome’ and they love to visit.
“Darla’s favourite thing about staying at the House is her interaction with the volunteers,” says Carla. “They bake, play video games and board games with her. She’s always so excited when she has an appointment in Halifax.”
Carla wants other families coming to the House for the first time to know that the volunteers and staff are great with kids, that everyone feels involved and nobody feels left out.
“We have met many other families and children at the House,” says Carla. “When we visit, we chat with the adults and our kids play together.”
Darla, who is now 11 years old, has even found her own way to show support for the House. Last year she did a class fundraiser that raised more than $70. This year, in her new school, she has already approached her principal and teacher to organize a month-long nickel drive.
“Ronald McDonald House is so great to her when she visits that she wanted to give something back,” says Carla. “Everyone at the House has really made her feel at home.”