McDonald's® Canada gears up for McHappy Day®

Celebrating McHappy Day with a smile are the Kruk and Liu families, McDonald's Canada founder George Cohon, franchisee Lindsay Bridge, VP Ontario Region Sharon Ramalho and, of course, Ronald McDonald in Toronto on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. (Credit: The Canadian Press Images) (CNW Group/McDonald's Canada)

Over 1,400 restaurants across the country to raise funds in support of Ronald McDonald Houses and other local children's charities

TORONTO, May 7, 2014 /CNW/ - On May 7th, McDonald's Canada and its franchisees are celebrating McHappy Day, a fundraising event where $1 from every Big Mac® sandwich, Happy Meal® and any hot McCafé® beverage sold will be donated to Ronald McDonald Houses and other local children's charities across Canada.

As part of the day's celebrations, McDonald's Canada, its franchise owners and their respective employees will be joined by a variety of special guests.  Going behind the counters and joining restaurant crew, sports and media personalities, local dignitaries and celebrities will greet and serve customers to raise money for families and their sick children across the country. This year marks the 21st McHappy Day, which raised more than $4 million for Ronald McDonald Houses and other local children's charities across the country in one day last year.

"No other day brings together our employees, guests, suppliers and friends in the community like McHappy Day," said John E. Betts, President and CEO of McDonald's Canada. "With each dollar raised, together we are able to make a real difference in the lives of sick children and their families."

First celebrated in Canada and founded by George Cohon, founder of McDonald's Canada and Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) Canada, McHappy Day is now a renowned worldwide fundraising event.

"It is truly remarkable to see the great work that Ronald McDonald Houses continue to achieve because Canadians continue to embrace McHappy Day," said Cohon. "Families with critically ill or injured children find warmth, support and shelter at one of our Houses and that is what makes this day so special."

The need for support of Ronald McDonald Houses has never been greater:

  • Children are healing but it's taking more treatments over longer periods of time - thirty years ago, healing rates for a child with cancer was in the thirty per cent range with stays at a House lasting four days. Today there is an eighty per cent recovery range for most children battling serious illnesses and the stay at a House ranges from six to 27 days on average.1
  • With seventy per cent of Canadians living outside of a city with a children's hospital,2 the need for families to travel to receive treatment for their sick child is more prevalent than ever before and the demand for Ronald McDonald Houses has never been greater.
  • Ninety-four per cent of mothers and seventy per cent of fathers reported a work loss following their child's cancer diagnosis amounting to a considerable financial cost for families.3

"Since we opened the doors to the first Canadian Ronald McDonald House® in 1981, over 246,000 families of sick children have found comfort at a critical moment in their lives - the moment when their lives shift to focus on the one thing that matters most, healing their sick child," said Cathy Loblaw, President and CEO, RMHC Canada.  "McDonald's Canada's incredible support as our founding and forever partner is most magical on McHappy Day when our families and Houses get to see just how much Canadians care."

McDonald's Canada's community involvement efforts are year-round and extend beyond McHappy Day. Since 2004, the company and its franchisees have raised more than $45 million for RMHC Canada by donating 10 cents from the sale of every Happy Meal.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Canada
In 1982, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada was founded to be the everlasting organization that would support Ronald McDonald Houses and their programs in Canada. Ronald McDonald Houses provide a home away from home for out of town families with sick children being treated at a nearby hospital.  Completing our circle of support for Canadian families are 9 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, which provide an oasis of calm and support right inside the walls of the hospital, as well as the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® program in Calgary, Alberta. In 2012, the 14 Ronald McDonald Houses, 9 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and 2 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles served 13,327 families. By the end of 2014 that support will grow to serving over 20,000 families. As RMHC's largest donor, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited and its franchisees donate 10 cents from every Happy Meal sold to Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. For more information on RMHC Canada, visit: www.rmhc.ca.

About McDonald's Canada
McDonald's is the leading foodservice company in the world. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited and its Canadian franchisees own and operate more than 1,400 restaurants and employ more than 85,000 employees coast-to-coast. Approximately 80 per cent of McDonald's Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. For more information about McDonald's Canada, visit www.mcdonalds.ca or follow us on Twitter (@McD_Canada) and Facebook (Facebook.com/McDonaldsCanada) for updates on our business, promotions and menu items.

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1 Merrill CT et al. Pediatric Hospital Stays for Cancer, 2005: Statistical Brief #37. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Briefs [Internet]. Sept. 2007. www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb37.pdf
2 Statistics Canada, 2011 (Calculation using municipalities)
3 Tsmimicalis  A. Costs Incurred by Families of Children Newly Diagnosed with Cancer in Ontario. Thesis: Doctor of Philosophy Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing University of Toronto 2010

SOURCE McDonald's Canada

Image with caption: "Celebrating McHappy Day with a smile are the Kruk and Liu families, McDonald's Canada founder George Cohon, franchisee Lindsay Bridge, VP Ontario Region Sharon Ramalho and, of course, Ronald McDonald in Toronto on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. (Credit: The Canadian Press Images) (CNW Group/McDonald's Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140507_C6785_PHOTO_EN_40070.jpg

For further information:

McDonald's Media Relations Line
1-877-786-3342