VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s best-known home for sick children and their families is getting bigger, and one young man couldn’t be happier.

Premier Christy Clark joined dignitaries, builders and a patient to help turn the ceremonial sod for a new Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver this morning.

It will be built near BC Children’s Hospital and house dozens more children and their parents who come to the city for treatment of serious illnesses.

The nearly $29 million complex is slated to open in the fall of 2013.  Premier Clark pledged almost $14 million for the new house last April.

“Instead of just being able to serve 13 families, Ronald McDonald House is soon going to be able to serve 73 families,” says Clark.  “That means a lot more young people, a lot more kids, who have all the support that they need to heal.”

One of those kids is 13-year-old Jasper Mohan of Powell River.
Last November he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, so he and his parents moved from Powell River into the current Ronald McDonald House on Angus Drive while he underwent treatment.

“You make so many great friendships, and so many people that I meet, because they’re going through similar experiences, you get a whole new aspect on treatment because you can share it,” he says.

“It’s great to be able to empathize with other people going through similar things,” he adds, excited by the new home’s features.  “They’re adding all sorts of new, interesting things that are going to…make it a better experience for kids,” Jasper says.  “Somewhere I heard that there’s going to be, like, a magic room and all sorts of fun things for the kids.”

Mohan’s mother Barb says many days at Ronald McDonald House are just like Christmas.  “It’s a chance to connect and support someone else, which really helps you from feeling like a victim, when you can offer support to someone else,” she says.  “It’s a great place to hear hopeful stories.  It’s a great place for Jasper…to gain control over the things that he loses control of, like his ability to eat or play or set his own daily schedule.”

“Think of all those families that won’t be turned away and have to go to hotels and stuff,” Jasper adds.