• aside

The

Importance of Family

Ashley McKim has been a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Moncton since the very beginning.

“I remember when I was told about the exciting new volunteer opportunity at The Moncton Hospital in the summer of 2011,” recalls Ashley. “I got to tour the Moncton Family Room while it was still under construction and I knew it was going to be something special.”

Ashley is not only a volunteer but she is also a nurse at the neonatal intensive care unit (NNICU) at The Moncton Hospital. She has donated more than 575 hours of her time to the Family Room to date. She believes it is a fantastic resource for families and she encourages them to take advantage.

“I am amazed at the difference between walking out of the hospital environment and walking into the Moncton Family Room,” says Ashley. “I feel like that doorway is a gateway. It’s like you’re walking into someone’s home.”

Ashley often helps the same families at the NNICU as she does at the Family Room.

“I definitely do see the same families,” says Ashley. “I know that they might wonder if I actually live at home but I love my job and I love volunteering too. I’m happy I get to do both.”

Ashley says that she always looks forward to giving families a tour of the Family Room for the first time.

“I love showing people around and watching their faces when they’re so surprised at what we have to offer,” says Ashley. “You can just see their relief when they come in. It’s so nice to be there for them when you know they are carrying some heavy burdens. The Family Room is a place where they can set those aside for a minute.”

It is often the little things, like a shower, a cup of coffee, a meal, that make all the difference for families.

“I had one family tell me that they had been staying at the hospital for two months and they didn’t have to eat out once because of the dinners provided at the Family Room,” shares Ashley. “It allowed them to recharge so they could go back to the hospital and be there for their loved ones.”

Ashley feels that her work and volunteer experience has given her an even greater appreciation for the importance of family.

“My job is a big part of who I am. There are times I see people who have had the worst day of their lives or gotten really bad news. I know how much it means to have that support system with them in the hospital.”