News Releases

Ronald McDonald House Charities and WestJet celebrate dads


Family brought together as an early Father's Day gift

CALGARY, June 4, 2014 /CNW/ - This Father's Day, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada and WestJet are celebrating dads across the country by surprising one hardworking father.

Four-year-old Joel Grimard, from Prud'homme, Saskatchewan, was diagnosed a few months after birth with tricuspid atresia, a congenital heart condition, and has spent much of his young life in the hospital. Joel's father Marc works in Saskatoon to support the family, while his seven-year-old brother, Mathieu, attends a local Saskatoon school. Angela, the boys' mother, stays with Joel at Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta while he receives treatment at the Stollery Children's Hospital. Often, the family is separated for weeks at a time. Families across Canada face the same tough choices every day, trying to balance the needs of a family with a sick child against the need to support the family financially.

In honour of Father's Day, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada, together with WestJet, found a way to bring the Grimard family together without disrupting the family's means of financial support. See and share their story.

"Enriching the lives of everyone in the WestJet world is in our DNA," said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President, Communications and Community Relations. "The chance to work with our WestJet Cares for Kids partner Ronald McDonald House Charities and local WestJetters to give the Grimard family quality time together is just one way we can demonstrate how caring makes a difference."

"At Ronald McDonald Houses, our families and their children are our heroes. Every day we witness acts of courage and selflessness in the healing of a sick child, especially when a parent and child are separated." said Cathy Loblaw, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada. "Together, with our incredible partners at WestJet, we were able to bring together the Grimard family, reminding us of the importance of providing a comforting and caring environment for families to be together, during some of life's most difficult times."

Now WestJet, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada and the Grimard family are sharing their story to celebrate the importance of fathers in the life of a child, and to encourage Canadians across the country to support Canada's 14 Ronald McDonald Houses, their programs and more than 20,000 families with sick children they will serve this year alone.

This Father's Day, in addition to WestJet's everyday support of Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada, WestJet has pledged to bring together even more Ronald McDonald House families with every 100,000 views the video receives, up to 500,000 views.

The charitable tradition of celebrating viewing milestones began with WestJet's 2012 Christmas flash mob video and was repeated in 2013 with the WestJet Christmas Miracle video. Let's work together to unite even more Ronald McDonald House families with our 2014 Father's Day surprise video.

About WestJet
We are proud to be Canada's most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers.  We offer scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries.  Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more.  Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales.  For more information about everything WestJet, please visit

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2014 Value Airline of the Year (Air Transport World magazine)
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2013 Gold Stevie Award Best Transportation Company (American Business Awards)
2013 Chairman's Circle Award: WestJet Vacations (CPSC)
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2013 WestJet RBC MasterCard ranked #1 in Canada (Money Sense magazine)

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About RMHC
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. Today, 14 Ronald McDonald Houses serve 13,327 families each year. By the end of 2014 that support will grow to serving over 20,000 families. Completing our circle of support for Canadian families are nine 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. As our largest donor, McDonald's® Restaurants of Canada and its Owner/Operators donate 10 cents from every Happy Meal® to Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. RMHC Canada has been a WestJet Cares for Kids partner since its inception in 2007, donating 578 flights for families to date.


Image with caption: "The Grimard family at Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta (CNW Group/WestJet)". Image available at:

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Kathleen Edmondson
Citizen Rel