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New Family Lounge Offers Respite at Essentia Health St. Mary's

Updated: 06/19/2014 9:53 AM
Created: 06/19/2014 9:04 AM WDIO.com

Families with critically ill children at Essentia Health in Duluth have a new place to rest and regroup right next to their kids.  The new Ronald McDonald family lounge opened Wednesday at Essentia Health St. Mary's Children's Hospital. The new lounge offers a special private place for families to be together. 

A co-op of 19 restaurants combined with Ronald Mcdonald House Charities-Upper Midwest helped fund the new space.  The two groups raised $180,000 to open the lounge.

"Credit goes to the Noretheast Co-op made up of the local McDonald's restaurants for taking the lead and brining this need to our attention," said Ronald McDonald Charities Upper Midwest President and CEO John Stanoch. "And, we're grateful to McDonald's Global for providing matching dollars to make this a special place of refuge possible for the many families of children in the communities we serve in and around Duluth."

The new lounge is conveniently adjacent to the hospital's new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is equipped with comfortable furniture, a TV, cozy fireplace, space for private discussions, a common eating area and oven, pantry for food and beverages, entertainment options for children, and amenities such as laundry service.  

"We like to create spaces that are essentially a home away from home - create some normalcy and a place of respite away from bedside with  your child," VP of Programs Gretchen Ambrosier said.

The local community played a part in assisting in the fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House Family Lounge.  All of the dollars raised through the canister program at the local McDonald's restaurants in the past two years helped fund the family lounge. 

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