An act of floral empathy will brighten up Mother’s Day weekend for moms staying at Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House.
Rocky Mountain House florist Nicole Buss has created mason jar floral arrangements for mothers staying at the facility, which provides a place for families to stay while children are being treated in the nearby hospital.
For Buss, the gesture is more than an act of kindness. It is a way for her — one mother to another — to show she understands how they might be feeling. It is also a thank you to Ronald McDonald House, which was there when her family needed it 10 years ago.
Daughter Samantha had been struggling with what seemed at first like a bad cold. But it would not get better and the doctors at the hospital could not determine why. Then, 10-year-old Samantha, who had been an active, energetic child passionate about dance, began to lose weight rapidly and was constantly thirsty.
On the Friday before Mother’s Day weekend in 2012, Nicole had a flash of insight.
“I don’t that day why diabetes came into my head,” she recalls.
They took her to a local pharmacy to have her blood sugar levels tested. When they got the results, indicating she was diabetic they headed straight to Rocky Mountain House hospital. Her Type 1 diabetes was confirmed and they were told they needed to get to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
“That 45-minute drive from Rocky Mountain House to Red Deer that day was the longest drive in my entire life. “Once we reached the hospital my husband had to carry her into the hospital because she couldn’t walk anymore.”
Nicole would spend four days at Samantha’s hospital bedside, sleeping in a chair or a cot. Her husband, Shane, and their son, Brendan, who is three years older than his sister, stayed at Ronald McDonald House.
Nicole and Samantha joined them on the fifth day. “The hospital allowed us all to stay as a family there before we came home just to experience a night on our own with this new diagnosis.”
Samantha is now living in Vancouver, where she is enrolled in the Modus Operandi’s four-year contemporary dance program. Last year, she graduated last year from Montessori’s early childhood development program.
“She’s thriving and doing extremely well.”
Nicole, a florist for more than 20 years and owner of Rocky Mountain House’s Flowers by Nicole, said her family has never forgotten the support they got at Ronald McDonald House.
“Every year since then we have tried to do something at Mother’s Day or Christmastime to donate back to the house because it means a lot to us.
“This year is our daughter’s 10-year anniversary so we decided that for every local floral subscription I sell I will donate back a mason jar full of flowers for every mom who stays at Ronald McDonald House.
“It’s just an amazing place when you’re going through a difficult time. The Ronald McDonald House is near and dear to our heart because they were there for us when we were in a difficult time.”
She and her husband plan to deliver the flowers on Saturday to the mothers at Ronald McDonald House and to share their story.