For families with a sick child in hospital, having a warm, inviting place to stay can alleviate some of the stress.
Serving that purpose is the Ronald McDonald House British Columbia, which opened the doors to its new, larger Vancouver house in June.
Providing sanctuary for loved ones of out-of-town patients, and seriously ill or injured kids at B.C. Children's Hospital, the home will serve 2,500 families from across the province each year. That's a huge jump from the former location that helped 400 families annually.
The bright, welcoming house features 73 guest rooms, four kitchens, eight family lounges, and a fitness centre.
For the kids, there's an arts and crafts room, a LEGO lounge, a teen lounge, an aquarium, and a giant slide, which emphasize the healing power of play — and let families retain some level of normalcy through a very difficult time.
It costs families $12 per night to stay at the house, though that fee is waived if it's unaffordable.
The organization is currently gearing up for its annual fundraiser, A Night to Dream Gala, at Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on Thursday, Oct. 9 (tickets can be found here). This year's gala is especially important because the new house has double the operating costs of the old one.
Hosted by Global TV's Steve Darling and Kristi Gordon, the evening features a three-course meal as well as silent and live auctions.
In the meantime, check out some photos of Ronald McDonald House B.C.: