Donation carries special meaning for local businessman

Ivan Trudel (left) hands the keys to Family Room coordinator Nadia Balytska (second from left) on Thursday, Nov. 22 as other donors involved in the projet look on. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Ivan Trudel helped coordinate a donation of a vehicle to the Ronald McDonald Family Room Thursday. It’s a way for him to give back to a place that has helped his family.

Ivan Trudel knows that the Ronald McDonald Room in Victoria Hospital makes a world of difference for families.

Trudel, who manages Trudel Auto Body, learned from personal experience what it means to have the family room in Prince Albert and the Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon.

“My child has very complex medical issues. We were in the hospital for the first 366 days of his life. Hanging out in hospital rooms gets old pretty fast,” he said.

“Having that room in the Victoria Hospital, it’s a little oasis, an area where you can go and hide for 30 minutes, a quick recharge, and feel like you’re at home.”

Those experiences were the reason Trudel wanted to help give back.

Thursday, Trudel, along with other local businesses, donated a new Dodge Caravan to the Ronald McDonald Family Room.

In addition to the van, which was branded and wrapped in logos by MarkIt Signs, employees from ASIIL Industries got together and bought children’s gifts to be distributed to families with children staying in the hospital over Christmas time. Riverside Dodge helped supply the van.

“Everybody came together,” Trudel said.

“I was very happy and honoured to be able to do this for the Ronald McDonald Family Room. It’s something near and dear to my heart, and it makes a big difference for people that have children like mine. To have a room like that here in Prince Albert is amazing.”

The family room is equipped with a little kitchenette, as well as a shower and laundry facilities. It also has a sitting area with a TV, toys for children and computers for parents to catch up on anything they need. It also has napping nooks, dining space and a fireplace.

Opened in September 2016, the family room is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is operated by staff and volunteers. It supports an average of seven to ten families a day.

According to Family Room coordinator Nadia Balytska, the donation of the vehicle will help the family room cut down on its administrative costs.

“It will be used to support operations … such as getting groceries, items and supplies, and attending third party events in Prince Albert,” she said.

“These costs come out of our budget. Now, we can put money back into programming.”

As the vehicle features the Ronald McDonald House logo, it will also help raise awareness about the existence of the Family Room.

“I want to extend our gratitude to Trudel Autobody and specifically to Ivan Trudel for the generous donation of the van. Also, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen,” she said.

“I’m so thrilled with the donations.”