Freeze the House raises thousands for Ronald McDonald House

By Sheldon Spackman
February 4, 2019 - 11:26am

The signature fundraising event for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alberta was a sweeping success once again this year.

Rhanda Bonnet-Graham, development manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities says the Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel held at the Pidherney Centre on Friday and Saturday was sold-out with 36 teams hitting the ice.

“This event is important because it started even before the Red Deer Ronald McDonald House was built,” she says. “The revenue from this event that first year helped build The House and it has built some sort of a momentum in the community and got people excited about getting together, rallying around The House and the families that we serve. It’s a fun event, people love to come together, curl, have a good time at the dinner and dance and support The House at the same time.”

Bonnet-Graham says the fundraising goal this year’s 8th annual event was $150,000.

“That’s about 10 per cent of our operating budget for the year.” she explains. “That’s really important for us to raise this money so we can keep The House going, the programs, the services that our families depend on when they have a sick child in Red Deer so that they can be close to them. Last year I think we had $124,000 but I think cumulatively I would say in the $800-$900 thousand dollar range.”   

This year’s celebrity curler for the event was 2016 Canadian women’s championship skip and 2019 Alberta champion Chelsea Carey.

A resident of Calgary, Carey says events like this are hard to say no to, adding it’s an event she hopes to be part of again sometime.

“It’s such a great cause and such an easy thing for us to do,” she exclaims. “We just show up and do what we do anyway. Throw some rocks and everybody’s just so much fun to be around and everything else that it’s just a no-brainer for us to say yes to these kinds of events whenever we can.”

Carey says she’s also proud to see how much money is raised through the event each year.

“For me, it’s just so humbling to be invited to an event like this,” says Carey. “It’s just incredible to me that everybody goes, ‘Oh, thank you for coming!’ and I’m like, ’Thank me? Thank you guys! You guys did all the work and put in all the volunteer hours and everything that goes into events like this, blows my mind.’ Me showing up and being here to me is the least significant part of the whole thing.”

Bonnet-Graham says the community deserves a lot of credit for its continued strong support of the Freeze the House Charity Bonspiel.

“I just want to thank the community for making it possible once again to keep The House going, the programs and the services we offer to our families,” she exclaims. “Without the community and the donors in the community participating in events like today or volunteering or donating or raising funds through events that they hold, we couldn’t do it, so thank you very much.”

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