An act of floral empathy will brighten up Mother’s Day weekend for moms staying at Ronald McDonald House Red Deer.
Rocky Mountain House florist Nicole Buss has created mason jar flower arrangements for mothers staying at the facility, allowing families to stay while children are cared for at the nearby hospital.
For Buss, the gesture is more than an act of kindness. It’s a way for her – from mother to mother – to show that she understands how they might be feeling. It is also a thank you to the Ronald McDonald House, which was there when his family needed it 10 years ago.
Her daughter Samantha had been battling what at first seemed like a bad cold. But it wasn’t getting better, and doctors at the hospital couldn’t determine why. Then, 10-year-old Samantha, who had been an active, energetic, and dance-loving child, began to lose weight rapidly and was constantly thirsty.
The Friday before Mother’s Day weekend in 2012, Nicole had a flash of insight.
“I don’t know why diabetes came to mind that day,” she recalls.
They took her to a local pharmacy to have her blood sugar tested. When they got the results, which said she had diabetes, they headed straight for Rocky Mountain House Hospital. His type 1 diabetes was confirmed and they were told they needed to go to the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
“That 45 minute drive from Rocky Mountain House to Red Deer that day was the longest drive of my life. “Once we got to the hospital, my husband had to carry her to the hospital because she couldn’t walk.”
Nicole spent four days at Samantha’s bedside in the hospital, sleeping on a chair or 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 there as a family before going home just to live one night alone with this new diagnosis.”
Samantha now lives in Vancouver, where she is enrolled in Modus Operandi’s four-year contemporary dance program. Last year, she graduated last year from the Montessori Early Childhood Development program.
“She is 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 never forgot the support they got at Ronald McDonald House.
“Every year since then we’ve tried to do something on Mother’s Day or Christmas to donate home because it means a lot to us.
“This year is our daughter’s 10th birthday, so we’ve decided that for every local floral subscription I sell, I will donate a mason jar filled with flowers to every mother who stays at Ronald McDonald House.
“It’s just an amazing place when you’re going through a tough time. Ronald McDonald House is close to our hearts because they were there for us when we were going through difficult times.
She and her husband plan to deliver the flowers on Saturday to the mothers of Ronald McDonald House and share their story.